KL Rahul set to continue as wicketkeeper in New Zealand, says Kohli

Captain backs the move

Virat Kohli signs autographs India

KL Rahul is set to continue as wicketkeeper for India’s tour of New Zealand.

Captain Virat Kohli said he will stick with Rahul behind the stumps as he looks to find the right balance to India’s batting line-up.

India wrapped up a 2-1 ODI series win over Australia in Bangalore on Sunday. Rahul was handed the gloves after regular keeper Rishabh Pant suffered concussion in the first ODI.

India now head to New Zealand for three ODIs, three Test matches and five T20Is as the continue to work towards the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

They are priced at 4.50 (7/2) second favorites with bet365 to win the tournament.

Keeper Rahul adds balance to India’s batting line-up

Kohli believes Rahul taking the role as keeper adds strength to India’s batting line-up.

He said: “It definitely allows us to play an extra batsmen which strengthen our batting massively,” Kohli told reporters.

“That is a very important factor as far as the team balance is concerned. If you look at the 2003 World Cup where Rahul (Dravid) started keeping, the balance became different because you could play an extra batter and guys at the top could really play positive cricket.”

“He is very open to playing anywhere because he is a proper batsman and can do you good in any format and any position in the game,” said Kohli.

“He won't go slam bang from ball one but he can do what he did in Rajkot just playing good cricketing shots. So I think solid game plan and understanding of his game is helping (him).”

Pant is part of India's T20 squad but Kohli insists India will persist with Rahul when they head to New Zealand. He had been opening but dropped down the order in the last two ODIs with some success.

“He has come into that slot and has done well, so we will have to persist with that,” said Kohli.

“You can't chop and change immediately and create confusion within the group. So we are playing very well unchanged and we did the job again, two back to back wins.”

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