Dravid answers red-hot 'Kohli-Rohit' question: 'These decisions are made...' | Cricket - Hindustan Times

Rahul Dravid answers red-hot 'Kohli-Rohit' question ahead of India vs Australia 1st ODI: 'These decisions are made...'

By, New Delhi
Sep 21, 2023 10:45 PM IST

Indian head coach Rahul Dravid answered the buzzing question about Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma ahead of the 1st ODI against Australia.

With the Australia series set to be the final stop before the ICC World Cup in India, the Rahul Dravid-coached side revealed their two separate squads for the upcoming three One Day Internationals (ODIs) against the five-time world champions on Monday. Fresh from being crowned champions of Asia, Team India opted to rest skipper Rohit Sharma, former vice-captain Virat Kohli, vice-captain Hardik Pandya and spin wizard Kuldeep Yadav for the Australia ODI series.

Dravid opened up about resting senior players for the first 2 ODIs (AP-AFP)
Dravid opened up about resting senior players for the first 2 ODIs (AP-AFP)

Following a hamstring injury to all-rounder Axar Patel in the Asia Cup 2023, India have recalled spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar for the ODI series. Ashwin last played an ODI for India in January 2022 and the veteran all-rounder was not a part of the World Cup squad. Chief selector Ajit Agarkar revealed that both Ashwin and Washington are backups as Axar is expected to return for the 3rd ODI against Australia. Axar's availability is subject to fitness although the star all-rounder was named in India's squad for the third and final ODI.

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ALSO READ: 'Australia series no trial for Ashwin': Dravid sets record straight on India star's return before World Cup

Dravid answers red-hot 'Kohli-Rohit' question ahead of 1st ODI

Skipper Rohit, who earlier said that he was in talks with Ashwin, will return to the Indian squad for the final ODI against Australia. Speaking to reporters in Mohali, Indian head coach Dravid was asked why India opted to rest Kohli and Rohit for the first two games of the Australia series. “I think with people like Virat and Rohit specifically, from our perspective, it is really important that we get them to that first game of the World Cup in the space (physically and mentally) they want to be in. You know at this level, the amount of cricket they play, they know how they need to prepare themselves. And a lot of these decisions are made in discussions with them. In an effort to try and get all our players, obviously not the two of them, certainly the senior and the more experienced guys kind of have their routines and know what they need to do to get into that first game just in the right frame of mind,” Dravid said at the press conference.

Who will lead India in Rohit's absence?

In the absence of skipper Rohit and his deputy Pandya, premier batter KL Rahul will lead India in the first two ODIs against Australia. Rahul made a spectacular return to the Indian side at the Asia Cup. The wicketkeeper-batter slammed a brilliant century against Pakistan. The 31-year-old also played a gritty knock against Sri Lanka in the Super 4 stage of the Asia Cup. India have also appointed veteran all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja as Rahul's deputy for the first two games. Rohit-less India will meet Australia in the 1st ODI at Mohali's Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium on Friday.

“So a lot of these decisions are taken in discussions with them. We discuss with them, how best they would like to prepare in the lead-up to the World Cup. So yeah, based on those discussions, we came up with mutual decisions on deciding that probably these two games were good games for them to take off just to refresh mentally more than anything else. Then come back to Rajkot. And then it's gonna be a tough couple of months ahead for us,” Dravid added.

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