Star batsman Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul will open for India in the first T20I against England on Friday.
Skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday confirmed that Rohit and Rahul are India's first-choice opening pair for the T20I series. Kohli highlighted how Rahul has been a consistent performer for India in the shortest format of the game. The Indian skipper also said that Shikhar Dhawan might open if one of the openers is rested for a game.
"It's quite simple, KL and Rohit have been performing at the top of the order for us and those two would start," Kohli said on the eve of the first T20I. "And if Rohit takes rest or Kl has a niggle or something Shikki (Shikhar Dhawan) obviously comes back as a third opener. The starting composition, Rohit and Rahul will start," he added.
While Rohit himself has refused to comment on who would open alongside him, former India batsman VVS Laxman had picked Rahul as the opening partner of the star batsman. According to the former batsman, Dhawan -- despite being in great touch -- can be used as a backup opener keeping in mind this year's T20 World Cup in India.
Speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected, Laxman had said, "It will be a tough question, as far as the selection of the second opener is concerned. There's no doubt about that because Rohit Sharma is an automatic choice in white-ball cricket. I will still go with KL Rahul because over the last few months and years I think the Indian team management went with KL Rahul as an opening batsman and he has done really well in that position.
"Yes, Shikhar Dhawan had a fantastic IPL, the way he batted at the top of the order, scoring centuries for Delhi Capitals and then he was in tremendous form for Delhi in the Vijay Hazare, where he scored a big 100 in that tournament as well. With KL Rahul as an opening combination, you want someone who's second. Keeping in mind the T20 World Cup, you have to identify who your openers are going to be there in the World Cup and back them; don't chop and change. You have someone as experienced as Shikhar Dhawan, who can be the backup opener in case one of these openers Rohit Sharma/KL Rahul gets injured or lose their form," he added.