Putting all speculations to rest, Rohit Sharma has categorically backed K.L. Rahul to be his first-choice opening partner and described Virat Kohli as a “third opener” and a “definite option”.

Experimentation over

Speaking to the mediapersons here ahead of the three-match T20I series against Australia beginning on Tuesday, Rohit indicated that, with the T20 World Cup just over a month away, the time for experimentation with the team combination was over.

“Rahul will open the batting in the World Cup. We do not want to experiment with that position a lot. Sometimes, his performance goes quite unnoticed but we are very clear [on] what Rahul brings to the table.

He is a quality player and his presence at the top is very crucial for us.”

About Kohli, Rohit said, “Virat is our third opener and he will open in some of the games. In the last match of the Asia Cup, we were happy with the way he played [as an opener].

“Since we have not taken a third opener…, Virat opens for his franchise in the IPL and he has done really well, so he is a definite option for us. It is always nice to have options and flexibility. You want the players to be in best shape batting at any position.”

Talking about the last-minute inclusion of Umesh Yadav as a replacement for Mohammad Shami, who will miss the series after testing positive for Covid, Rohit said, “There were few options, but few of them are injured like Prasidh [Krishna], while Avesh Khan needs time to recover after being sick during the Asia Cup. [Mohammad] Siraj is playing for his County and we did not want him to fly all the way, for one or two games.”

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