PAARL: India stand-in ODI skipper KL Rahul on Tuesday confirmed that he would bat at the top of the order in the upcoming three-match ODI series against South Africa.
The first match is set to be played on Wednesday in Paarl. Earlier, the Proteas had defeated India 2-1 in the Test series.
Rahul had replaced Rohit Sharma as skipper for the upcoming ODI series after the Hitman was ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Pacer Jasprit Bumrah will serve as Rahul's deputy in the series.
"Yes, in the last 14-15 months, I have batted at number four-five, at different positions and you know that is what the team needed from me. Now, with Rohit not being here, I would bat at the top of the order," said Rahul during a virtual press conference.
While replying to an ANI query on importance of all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul said: "Yes, Venkatesh Iyer has been very exciting since he has played for KKR and done really well there and he joined us for the T20I series against New Zealand. He did really well there, fast-bowling all-rounders are always an asset. We are always looking for fast-bowling all-rounders. They balance the team out really well. It is a great opportunity for him to do well in South Africa."
When asked about his captaincy, Rahul said: "I think I take every game as it comes. I am not really someone who gets worried or gets too happy. I stay balanced with the results, there were a lot of learnings from the Johannesburg Test. I have learned a lot from both MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, I am human, I will make mistakes along the way but I will learn and get better. That's where my mind is at. The ODI series is a fresh start and it is a great opportunity for me to lead the side."
Rahul remained tight-lipped on whether Team India could enter the first ODI with two spinners in their playing XI.
"Every venue is different, the Paarl pitch does look like that it could offer more to spinners than it did in the Test series. We have quality spinners, Ashwin has come back into the team and we know what quality he brings. Chahal has been doing well, hence they become really important for us," said Rahul.
India squad: KL Rahul (Captain), Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Jayant Yadav, Navdeep Saini.