Virat Kohli
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Virat Kohli

Ahead of the five-match T20I series opener against England, India skipper Virat Kohli has confirmed the opening combination of the side, saying that the hosts will go with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul at the top. 

“If Rohit plays, it’s simple. KL and Rohit have been consistently performing at the top. If either of them take rest, Shikhar is the third opener. Rohit and Rahul will start,” said Kohli in a virtual press conference. While Rohit has three half-centuries in his last five T20I outings, Rahul has scored 39, 45, 51, 30 and 0. 

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When asked if India are favourites for the T20 World Cup, Kohli said, “No, I think England are favourites. They are the No 1 side in the world, all teams will be wary of their strengths.”

Kohli also provided an update on pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar‘s fitness. The Uttar Pradesh bowler was out for a long time, owing to a thigh muscle injury since the previous edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“Bhuvneshwar Kumar is shaping up really well. He has worked really well to get back to be 100%. He’s a smart operator with the ball. India want him to contribute to many more wins. He’s the guy you can bank on,” said the Indian captain.

With the focus shifting to the shorter format, Kohli feels the Indian batsmen will be able to bat with more freedom.

“We want to play free cricket, we’ve explosive batsmen in the team now. That’s exactly what we’re trying to address. This time around you’ll see players bat more freely. I see us being much more free with our approach from this series onwards,” he said.

After cinching the recently-concluded Test series 3-1 and booking a place in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand, Kohli’s men will be high on confidence for the limited-overs leg against England.

The T20I series will be the first of India’s preparatory series this year leading up to the World T20 that will be held in India in October-November.

Original Article Source(India TV, all rights Reserve)