Captain Virat Kohli revealed the opening combination for Team India in the five-match T20I series against England starting on Friday. Kohli said that Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul will be the first priority as opening pair for the Men in Blue as Shikhar Dhawan comes in as the third opener.

Rohit has been a regular in the Indian team for the past few years while the emergence of Rahul in the shortest format has made things difficult for Dhawan. Rahul is currently the highest-rated batsman for India in the ICC T20I Rankings – 3rd.

“If Rohit plays, then it’s simple. KL (Rahul) and Rohit have been performing consistently at the top of the order for us and those two will start,” Kohli was unambiguous in his reply that the seasoned Shikhar Dhawan will have to wait.

The Indian captain revealed that Dhawan will get a chance if Rohit decides to take the rest or Rahul suffers an injury.

“In a situation, Rohit takes rest and KL has a niggle or something, Shikhi (Dhawan’s nickname in team) obviously comes in as the third opener but the starting composition, Rohit and Rahul will be the ones who will start.”

The T20I series will be a tune-up for the Indian team for the T20 World Cup, to be held in India later this year. It will decide the combinations for the Men in Blue for the mega ICC tournament.

Kohli also gave his opinion on the repeated fitness test failure of rookie spinner Varun Chakravarthy and said there should not be any compromise in terms of the fitness level in the team.

“Look individuals need to understand the systems that have been created for the Indian cricket team,” Kohli was very clear on where he stood on the issue.

“We should operate at the very high levels of fitness and skills and that’s why this (India team) is top of the ladder when playing cricket, in our country. We would expect players to abide by what’s required to be a part of Team India. There shouldn’t be space for any compromise, in that regard,” Kohli added.