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Rohit goes straight from airport to ground to join practice after flight delayed | Cricket

The Indian fans will have to wait a few days more to see Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli play a T20I together as India head coach Rahul Dravid on Wednesday confirmed the unavailability of Kohli for the first T20I against Afghanistan in Mohali on Thursday. Dravid said Kohli won’t play the series opener due to personal reasons. Notably, it is Kohli’s daughter Vamika’s third birthday today (January 11).

India’s cricket captain Rohit Sharma (L) takes part in a practice session at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali(AFP)

Rohit, however, will return as opener and captain. This is the first time Rohit will feature in a T20I since the heartbreaking loss to England in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022. The preparation for the same, however, was a bumpy one. The chartered flight which was supposed to take Rohit to Mohali got delayed. Sensing that he might miss the only opportunity to get accustomed to the chilly Mohali conditions before the T20I, Rohit decided to straightaway travel to the IS Bindra Stadium from the Chandigarh airport, reported Dainik Jagran.

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The Indian captain did not go to the hotel and instead joined the practice session which began around 5 pm on Wednesday. After arriving an hour late, Rohit did some stretching and physical exercise before joining coach Dravid in the pitch inspection. He was then seen taking some throwdowns and indulging in discussions with the young members of the squad.

Rohit to open with Jaiswal, Gill at No.3

Dravid confirmed that Rohit would be opening the batting with young Yashasvi Jaiswal. They have opened together in four Tests but this will be their first white-ball outing as an opening pair.

“As of now, we will be opening with Rohit and Jaiswal. When you have a squad that offers flexibility, we can take a call that is in the best interest of the team,” Dravid said on the eve of the match.

“We are certainly happy with what Jaiswal has done for us as an opener. It also gives us the left-right combination at the top,” added Dravid.

This means Shubman Gill will be on the bench from the second T20I when Virat Kohli returns unless Gill does something extraordinary batting at No.3 in the series opener to give a massive headache to the team management.

Dravid also did not entirely rule out the possibility of Kohli and Rohit opening together.”Nothing is closed (Kohli opening with Rohit). We have no doubt that the kind of ability and skill sets players like Rohit and Kohli possess, they will be able to find answers against different kind of bowling,” said Dravid.

These three T20Is against Afghanistan are India’s last before the T20 World Cup. Needless to say, all eyes will be glued to how Rohit and Kohli, the stalwarts of Indian cricket, shape up before having one final crack at an ICC event.

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