Sports: Virat Kohli wants the Indian players to cash in on the opportunities in the upcoming ODI series against South Africa in run up to the World Cup, which is 15 months away. The India skipper believes that the core team for the 50-over World Cup is more or less sorted, barring No.4 slot and thinks that Ajinkya Rahane is a strong candidate for the position considering the conditions in England. Ahead of the 1st ODI in Durban, the Indian team had an optional practice session on Wednesday, with Kohli and pace bowlers taking a day off.
“We have explored many options in the last few months. We don’t have too many series and too much time left before the World Cup, so we want to explore all the options before the World Cup,” Kohli told reporters.
“I had said earlier that Ajinkya Rahane would be looked at as a third opener but that situation can change because he has batted at No. 4 in a World Cup (in 2015) before. These conditions are such that you get to play fast bowling throughout the innings so he becomes a strong candidate for No. 4.
“Other than him we have Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey. We don’t want to be one-dimensional. It depends whose technique is more suited to what spot especially in that particular country. All options are open,” he said further. The rest of the batting order is more or less sorted, said Kohli.
“Although the lower middle order is more or less sorted, the middle order is something we are still looking at. The combination is working well for us with Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni rotating and batting together.
“No. 4 is something we have experimented with in the last couple of series. That is the only spot I can see that needs to be solidified otherwise the team looks pretty balanced, he added. Kohli stressed that although the core group of players has been identified already, things could still change in the lead-up to the World Cup. He also added that there is a need to find balance between preparations and the challenge of current series.
“It s about who takes that one particular spot (number four). It’s not even spots above and below. Guys who are given the opportunity need to capitalise and really string in performances that convince the management and the team very soon that that guy is meant to play at that spot for the team.
“I feel the core of players is more or less pretty strong at the moment. Obviously changes can happen at any stage. You don’t know whether someone is going to be in form or not or what the team requires at certain stages,” he said. Kohli said that the squad has enough quality even if there is some experimentation to be done.