While Rohit Shama withdrew from the contest without consequence against Afghanistan, Kohli opened the batting with Rahul.
The question was loaded because if Kohli opened the bat it would mean that Rahul, whose T20 batting approach is already under the scanner, would have to sit.
“Toh kya mai khud baith yellow? (So should I sit down?),” a puzzled Rahul, obviously not amused at all, cross-examined.
The India vice-captain is a firm believer that Kohli doesn’t depend on the opening slot to get a huge score.
“You get confidence if you play 2-3 sets, really happy that he can play that way. You all know Virat Kohli, you’ve been watching him for so many years, it’s not like he doesn’t would score that centuries if he opens the at bat, if he hits at No. 3 then he can also score centuries. It’s all about roles and the role of a certain player,” he added .
But no one can ignore how the team gets a boost when their best hitting score is run.
KL Rahul (Photo BCCI)
“Obviously the points scored by Virat are a huge bonus for the team, and the way he played against Afghanistan, I know he is very, very happy.
“He worked on his game and it worked wonderfully today. As a team, it’s important that every player has free time in the middle,” said the substitute skipper.
For Rahul, even during the lull period of the past three years, there had been no change in Kohli’s work ethic or mindset.
“Obviously celebrating Virat was more of a relief. There has been no change in his mindset, attitude and work ethic over the last 2-3 years. There is no had no difference in how he prepares for the game.
“He (Rahul) always had that desire, I think we’re also very obsessed with numbers, obsessed with those three numbers and we think if someone scores hundreds then only they’re fit. His contributions have been phenomenal in the last 2-3 years,” said Rahul.
KL Rahul (AFP Photo)
Kohli’s hallmark has always been the pursuit of perfection in his pursuit of excellence, Rahul believes.
“As a player you always want to be perfect or you want to challenge yourself towards excellence, he was always that player. Even during that phase he stayed in the moment and he worked on his game. That has been a learning for our whole group,” Rahul said.
While Kohli himself was pleasantly surprised that his long-awaited 71st cent arrived in the shorter format, Rahul wasn’t surprised at all.
“In this dressing room, none of us are surprised to see what he did today. I’m sure it will give him even more confidence, he will obviously cherish this hundred and it will also create a lot of confidence around the group,” he added.