KL Rahul will continue as keeper-batsman for now: Virat Kohli
“We are playing very well, unchanged team and did the job two with back to back wins. Don’t see any reason why we should change this balance. It has done well for the team,” making it clear that Rishabh Pant might have to wait a bit longer for his comeback in the playing XI.
“It (Rahul’s keeping) definitely allows us to play an extra batsmen which strengthens our batting massively. That is a very important factor as far as the team balance is concerned,” he said.
“If you look at the 2003 World Cup when Rahul bhai started keeping, the balance became different because you could play an extra batter and guys at the top could really play positive cricket,” Kohli said referring to the India’s runners-up showing in 2003.
Rahul batted at No 3 in the series opener, at No 5 in Rajkot before opening in the decider as Shikhar Dhawan was injured.
“Look, he is very open to playing anywhere because he is a proper batsman and can do you good in any format and any position in the game.
“He won’t go slam bang from ball one but he can do what he did in Rajkot playing good cricketing shots. So I think a solid game plan and understanding of his game is helping him,” Kohli explained.
Kohli is happy that Rahul has worked on his game and is now a match-winner.
“He has reflected on what he needs to do in the last five six months and he has come a long way. Good signs for us. Gives a boost to the team because he keeps as well,” said the skipper.
So how does recently discovered Rahul the wicketkeeper batsman leave other options in a World Cup year?
“Look we have what we have in the team. It is just that Rahul really brings in good balance, if he can keep and bat that well in that position. He has come into the slot and he has done well so we will have to persist with that a little bit and see where that takes us and not necessarily be confused about the other options we have,” said Kohli as the question was an indirect reference to the Rishabh Pant vs Mahendra Singh Dhoni debate.