Rohit Sharma Reveals Virat Kohli’s Role in Team India’s T20I Setup, Calls Former India Captain Impact Player

Rohit took over Virat Kohli as India's T20I captain after the latter stepped down from the role, citing workload management after their early exit from T20 World Cup 2021.

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Jaipur: With an eye on next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, India’s new T20 captain Rohit Sharma is focused on the need to create a template for the new-look Indian cricket team who will start their first battle against New Zealand in the three-match T20I series, starting Wednesday (November 17) in Jaipur. Rohit also spoke about the role of Virat Kohli as a batter in the new set-up and expects his predecessor to continue dishing out impactful performances in the shorter format. Kohli has relinquished his T20 captaincy and from Wednesday’s opening T20I against the Black Caps, Rohit will be the full-time skipper in the shortest format going into next year’s World Cup.

Addressing the media through a virtual press conference ahead of the T20I series opener against New Zealand, Rohit stressed that Kohli’s presence will only bolster Team India’s batting unit. Kohli will not be part of the 3-match T20I series against New Zealand as he has been rested for the series.

“What he has been doing for the team, his role will remain the same. He is very important. He is an impact player, he leaves an impression whenever he plays. He is a very important player from the team’s point of view,” Rohit said to the media on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old Kohli has been going through a lean patch from his own standards in international cricket. He began the T20 World Cup with a brilliant half-century against Pakistan in Dubai but his form weaned off as he ended the tournament with 68 runs in 3 innings. When asked how he perceives the former captain’s role, Rohit was precise in his reply.

“Everybody will have a different role, batting first and bowling first, roles will be different. Everyone is open to that. I am sure when Virat comes back, he can only strengthen our team because of the experience and the kind of batsmen he is. It’s only going to add up to our squad,” he added.

Despite an early exit from T20 World Cup 2021, Rohit ruled out any possibility of hitting the reset button but stressed on the need of creating their own unique template in a shorter format. “We need to set the template right. India have been brilliant in this format, we have not won the ICC tournament but we played well as a team and performed well,” Rohit said.

The Mumbai batter also spoke about the holes and arrangements that need to be done ahead of the next ICC event. “There are holes we need to fill up. That will be the biggest challenge for us. I’m not going to say that we are going to follow other teams’ template. We will do what suits us best. The players play a different role in Syed Mushtaq Ali, franchises and in the national team. We need to define specific role for players,” Team India’s new T20I skipper said.

The roles of each player change as per match conditions and all players, including Kohli, are open to that, insisted the new captain.

“When you are batting first, the role is different compared to when you are batting second. Based on games that we are playing, roles will keep changing and everyone is open to that,” Rohit concluded.

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