Kohli hints at playing Rahane at No.4 in Proteas ODIs

Durban [South Africa]: Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday hinted at playing batsman Ajinkya Rahane at number four spot in the upcoming six-match ODI series against South Africa, beginning at the Kingsmead here tomorrow.

Speaking on the eve of the match, Kohli revealed that they are still looking to solidify the number four position and felt that Rahane is a strong candidate for the same.

“We had said earlier that Ajinkya will be looked at as a third opener, but that situation can change because he has batted at No. 4 in a World Cup before. These conditions are such that you get to play fast bowling throughout the innings so he becomes a strong candidate for No. 4. Other than that we have Shreyas (Iyer), Manish (Pandey), Kedar (Jadhav) can play No. 5 and 6, Hardik (Pandya) is there, and MS (Dhoni) is obviously there. We have kept all these options open, we don’t want to be one-dimensional. It depends whose technique is more suited to what spot,” he said.

Reflecting on the current squad, Kohli insisted that they have already got the core of players for next year’s World Cup, which will be played from May 30 to July 15, 2019 in England.

“I feel the core of players is more or less pretty strong at the moment. Obviously changes can happen at any stage. You don’t know whether someone is going to be in form or not or what the team requires at certain stages. How I see it, more or less the core is found,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kohli was also full of praise of the India Under-19 cricket team, who reached the finals of the ICC U-19 World Cup by thrashing Pakistan by 203 runs in the in the second semi-final clash at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

The Indian skipper said that it was great to see young boys performing at the best of his abilities in such a high-pressure game, while also wishing the team luck for the final match against Australia in Tauranga on February 3.

“It feels amazing. I interacted with them before they left. They are lovely bunch of boys. They are very welcoming, very confident. So, I was very happy to see that and compared to our lot, their confidence level is somewhere else, which is a great sign.They have done amazingly well, semifinal was an amazing game. Playing such a high-pressure game, they really stood up. I want to wish them all the very best for the finals. We all will be following very keenly and we are eagerly waiting to see them lift the Cup,” he said

Earlier, India registered a 63-run win in the third and final Test against South Africa to end the three-match series 1-2, in favour of the home side, at the New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg.

The India ODI squad for South Africa series is as follows:

Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur.(ANI)