India skipper Virat Kohli lauded openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul for their clinical performance, as the duo provided the team with a solid start in the third and final T20I against Sri Lanka in Pune. The pair added 97 runs for the opening wicket before Dhawan was caught in the deep on 52.
Praising Dhawan for getting back the groove, Kohli stated that he is against the idea of people pitting the pair (Dhawan and Rahul) against each other as a possible partner for Rohit Sharma in the upcoming ODI series against Australia.
Dhawan, who has been out of action for a while, was under pressure but the 34-year-old delivered by smashing a half-century. With regular opener, Rohit Sharma set to return to the Indian camp from his break, this knock helped him cement his spot back in the side for the upcoming 50-over series against Australia.
“All three openers are pretty strong players, and it’s great to have players playing well in the team. It gives you options. But I think people need to stop pitting players against each other. It’s all about a team game. I don’t endorse this idea of putting people in the team against each other,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
With the first encounter getting washed out, India’s all-round effort in the remaining two contests of the three-match series helped the Men In Blue maintain their winning momentum.
Happy with the team’s show, Kohli also stated that the side has started the new year on a positive note. “We have started on the right track, chasing (in) one game and setting one game. Two very clinical performances, so I am very happy. Just the confidence of getting that 200 marks every now and then will put us in good stead,” the skipper said.
Kohli also praised Shardul Thakur and Manish Pandey’s contribution as both ensured that India edged past the 200-run mark.
“That middle collapse was challenging and what Manish and Shardul did was very good. We require more of this in the coming games as well, to see who are the guys putting their hands up when the senior guys don’t get runs,” Kohli said.
“Batting first and setting totals… today I thought 180 and we got 200. In Mumbai, (vs West Indies) we thought of 200 and we got 230. We just want to continue that, we don’t want to be a team that is tentative batting first. How confident we are batting second, we want to be like that batting first as well,” he concluded.