KL Rahul stumping Aaron Finch in 2nd ODI at Rajkot.
KL Rahul stumping Aaron Finch in 2nd ODI at Rajkot. Image: @BCCI

KL Rahul To Continue As India Keeper: Kohli

DAILY BYTES

“KL Rahul as wicket-keeper provides balance to the team. We will continue with him for a while,” said team India captain Virat Kohli on Sunday.

He was interacting with the media during the post-match conference in Bengaluru after India beat Australia by 7 wickets in the final match of the three-match ODI series.

Australia won the first match emphatically by 10 wickets, but India bounced back in the next two games and sealed the series 2-1.

Regular keeper Rishab Pant was hit on the head while batting in the first match in Mumbai and KL Rahul has been keeping wickets since then.

KL Rahul has been in sublime touch with the bat and in the last two ODIs against Australia, also did a decent job behind the stumps.

“I think lack of clarity in terms of positions has really hurt us in the past,” Kohli said while speaking to reporters.

“Now that we understand that this feels right, we will go ahead with that for a while and figure out if this is the right thing to do or not,” he added.

“You cannot chip and change immediately and create confusion among the group,” Kohli said with reference to No 4 conundrum during ODI World Cup.

“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,” the skipper further said.

“It has done well for the team,” he added, making it clear that Rishabh Pant might have to wait a bit longer for his comeback in the playing XI.

“KL’s keeping allows us to play an extra batsmen. It is an important factor as far as the team balance is concerned,” Kohli reiterated.

“If you look at the 2003 World Cup when Rahul Dravid started keeping, the balance became different because you could play an extra batsman,” he added.

KL Rahul batted at No 3 in the first ODI, at No 5 in the second match in Rajkot and opened 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,” Kohli added.

“He won’t go slam-bang from ball one but he can do what he did in Rajkot playing good cricketing shots,” Kohli said.

“So I think a solid game plan and understanding of his game is helping him,” Kohli added.

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,” the skipper added.

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