Team India reached New Zealand on Monday as the side prepares for a five-match T20I series, which begins on January 24. Indian captain Virat Kohli addressed the media ahead of the pre-match press conference, where he talked about the recent change in gloves in the limited-overs format.
KL Rahul played as the wicketkeeper-batsman in the final two ODIs of the series against Australia after Rishabh Pant faced a concussion injury. Kohli had said after the win in the 3rd ODI that the management is not inclined towards making change in the current combination, posing questions on the future of Rishabh Pant.
In the press conference ahead of the first T20I in Auckland, the Indian captain said that Dhawan's injury does alter the plan for the side, but confirmed that Rahul will likely be playing in the middle-order in the ODIs.
"It will certainly alter a few plans for us (Shikhar Dhawan's injury). In the one-day game, we will have to think of sticking to the same thing we did in Rajkot, it would probably work best for us as a side. Have another guy at the top and let KL express himself at that position (number 5) where he played really well," said Kohli.
"In T20 cricket, the dynamics change a little bit more. We do have lower-order batsmen who have done well. So, we have a few more options there in solidifying that spot and probably let KL bat at the top."
He insisted that Rahul has performed well and the current combination brings the 'best balance to the side'.
"Him doing really well with the gloves has opened up a another scenario for us where it gives us a lot more balance in playing an extra batter. If he can keep that well and perform well with the bat, then why not? This is something we are looking to continue for a while. Nothing taken away from anyone else, it just brings the best balance to the side," said the 31-year-old.
"I know there will be talks about what happens to other players. For us, the most important thing is balance."
On being asked how Rahul has taken up the challenge, Kohli said that he's a 'team man' and that he is open to any role in the playing XI.
"He's open to accepting any kind of role," said the Indian captain.
"He's a team man and you can tell by the way he keeps. He's always looking for an opportunity and he's not nervous about it. He's just in the game. He's relishing the wicketkeeping much more. He's more involved in the game and he is able to look at the fielding placements much more. It engages him into the game in the right manner, it's wonderful to have a guy who can do both things well and bring balance to the side."