Former India skipper Virat Kohli feels KL Rahul will have to play a huge role if the team is to perform well in the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, saying it’s crucial for the opening batter to be in a “good space” heading into the mega event.
Kohli, who was pushed up the order and opened the batting with stand-in skipper KL Rahul against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup Super Four game on Thursday, said the opener plays some “clean shots” and provides solidity at the top.
Rahul scored a 41-ball 62 in the 101-run win against Afghanistan at a healthy strike rate of 151.
“I think we should not ignore his (KL Rahul’s) knock because we know how important it is for KL to be in a good space as well heading into the (T20) World Cup. We all know what he can do in this format. He plays very clean and solid shots, and once he bats well in T20 cricket then our team looks even more strong,” opined Kohli, who himself struck an unbeaten century on Thursday, on BCCI.tv.
Kohli felt the team despite not making it to the Asia Cup final looked a confident unit going into the T20 World Cup.
“We know how confident we are as a team. I’m sure that good things are going to happen in the future.”
India all-format skipper Rohit Sharma added that with a couple of tough limited-overs home series coming up against Australia and South Africa, it would give India good preparation for the World Cup.
Referring to the experience he and Rohit Sharma bring to the team, Kohli said doing well in the World Cup will come down to being in the “right frame of mind” and “being in that space”.
“As I mentioned, you (Rohit) and I have been playing for so long. For us, it’s about being in the right frame of mind and continuing being in that space, so that is the most important thing. So, what we are creating in the change room is very special and very sacred to all of us.
“We know how good we feel as a team in the change room and for us, the next two series against top teams (Australia and South Africa) is a chance to establish those good habits and be very consistent as a team under pressure situations, make good decisions and then we go into the World Cup knowing ‘yes we can do it against all these bowlers even though the conditions are different,” added Kohli.
“It might be a little tougher but we are going there earlier so I see the next couple of months as a great phase where we play quality teams we go to Australia, we have preparation time. And I have no doubt we would be absolutely ready, come the first game of the World Cup,” said Kohli.