India’s limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma said that the team’s batting order in T20Is is still not set and they will continue to experiment before settling down for a proper combination for the much-awaited ICC T20 World Cup 2021, later this year. Rohit made it clear that opening alongside captain Virat Kohli was a one-off decision as they wanted to accommodate an extra bowler and therefore, had to drop out-of-form KL Rahul from team India’s playing XI for the fifth and final T20 international against England.

Kohli opened the batting with Rohit in the series decider on Saturday and the pair ended up knitting a healthy stand of 94 runs for the first wicket in nine overs. The promotion of Kohli worked for the hosts as India posted a mammoth score of 224/2 in 20 overs after England won the toss and opted to field. Despite enough firepower in their batting, England fell short of the target and lost the match and the series by 36 runs. Speaking at the post-match presser, Kohli said that he would like to continue opening the batting with Rohit in T20Is. Rohit, however, said that he is not going to rule out KL Rahul getting back into the opening slot.

“There’s still a long time for the World Cup, so (it’s) early days to talk about what the batting line up would be looking like. Today was a tactical move because we wanted an extra bowler to play. We had to leave one batsman out, unfortunately, it was KL, which was very tough,” said Rohit in the post-match press conference.

“KL, we know he’s been one of our key players in the limited-over format. Looking at the current form the team management decided to go with the best eleven. But having said that, it doesn’t send any signal, that KL Rahul would not be considered or anything like that. It was just for one particular game,” he said.

The 33-year-old Rohit, who scored 64 off 34 balls, said the decision to drop Rahul and bring Kohli up the order was a ‘tactical move’. “Still early days to be talking about what the batting lineup will be looking like in the T20 World Cup. We have to analyse and think about what suits the team the most.

India won the five-match series against England 3-2 but Rohit said the result is not enough to judge what the team would look like at the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played in India in October and November this year.

“As and when we get closer to the World Cup, we do understand (Rahul’s) ability, we do understand his contribution at the top, what he’s done for us. I’m not going to rule out anything, neither would I say this is the preferred batting line-up for the World Cup. There’s the IPL in between, and I’m hearing that there’ll be a few T20Is as well before the World Cup. So good enough time for us at that point to judge what would be the best eleven for us,” said Rohit.

“What I wanted to say is, not to judge on what has happened in these five games. These five games was good for us to judge as individuals, as a team where we stand, but this particular series doesn’t send any signals that this is our perfect eleven. There’s a long way to go,” he added.

Rahul aggregated just 15 in the four T20 internationals against Englnd. He had a string of poor scores — 1,0,0 before he made 14 in the fourth match. He was replaced by fast bowler Thangarasu Natarajan in the fifth and final T20I. Natarajan returned to the India playing XI after passing the fitness test.