Rohit Sharma-led Team India then takes on Australia in a three-game T20I series, which begins Tuesday in Mohali. It would be interesting to see if the hosts continue with the same level of experimentation seen during the Asian Cup, where the squad failed to make the final of the continental tournament. Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel have recovered from their injuries, so that’s an added bonus for Team India. Skipper Rohit Sharma spoke at a press conference on Sunday where he talked about what to expect and whether Virat Kohli can be seen as an opener in the shortest format.
“It’s always nice to have options available to you. It’s important to go into a World Cup that you have flexibility. You want the players in every position to be in the best shape. When we try to do something new , doesn’t that mean that’s a problem,” Rohit said at a press conference.
“For us, we understand the quality of all our players and what they bring to us. But yes, it is an option (Virat Kohli opening) for us, we will always keep that in mind. Since we did not take a third opener, he’s opening for his franchise in the IPL and he’s done a really good job so it’s a definite option for us,” he went on to discuss whether Kohli could be considered an opener.
Speaking further about Virat opening the blow, Rohit said: “Virat Kohli is our third opener and he will open in some matches. In the last match of the Asia Cup, we were happy with the way he played. But KL Rahul will open batting in the World Cup, we don’t want to experiment much with that position, his achievements sometimes go quite unnoticed.”
“He is a very important player for Team India. For us I just want to make it clear, we are clear in our thinking process. We have no confusion, we are very clear what KL Rahul brings to the table for us, he is a quality player and is very important to us. His presence at the top is very crucial for us,” said the 35-year-old.
Ahead of the series opener, it was confirmed that Mohammed Shami will not play any role as he has tested positive for COVID-19 and Umesh Yadav has been named as his replacement.
“There were few options, but few of them are injured like Prasidh. Siraj is playing county, we don’t want him to fly all the way through, maybe play one or two games. That won’t be fair. Obviously Shami has an unfortunate incident with him. Avesh was pretty sick in the Asian Cup and he needs some time to recover. From a fitness point of view, he needed some time to rebuild his condition. All those things were taken into account. Guys like Umesh, Shami, who been bowling for a long time they don’t have to play a format to qualify,” said Rohit.
“They have proven themselves as players in whatever format they’ve played in. We understand the quality, it’s the new guys it will depend on whether they’ve played this format or not. But guys like Umesh and Shami, if they’re fit and fine, they’re being recalled. We don’t have to look at their form, we watched Umesh pitch in the IPL,” he further explained.
Speaking further about Umesh’s roster, Rohit said: “He bowled really well, he swings the ball, bowls fast. That was the thinking, pretty simple actually. It wasn’t really a discussion for us. Corner, we tried a lot of players We are very clear in our thought process and how we want to move forward,” he added.
India squad for Australia series: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vice captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.