KL Rahul will keep middle-order role for New Zealand ODIs, says Kohli

He will also take the gloves again

Virat Kohli signs autographs India

Virat Kohli says he wants KL Rahul to get used to both keeping wicket and batting in the middle-order against New Zealand.

India begin a three-game ODI series against the Black Caps on Wednesday and will continue with in-form Rahul in his new role.

The visitors have been hit by injuries to openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan ahead of the series. Despite that, Kohli says he won’t be forced to shift Rahul back up the order.

Instead, Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal are likely to make their ODI debuts to allow Rahul to stay lower.

Kohli said: “We are looking to stick to the same plan. KL will bat in the middle-order. We want him to get accustomed to that role and keep as well.

“We understand it's an unfortunate situation that Rohit can't be a part of this series. When you talk about one-day cricket and T20 cricket and Test cricket now, he's one guy who's always on the list first. The impact he's had is there for everyone to see. But the thing is that we don't have any one-day tournaments to look forward to. It's, if anything, an ideal time for him to go away and rectify this as soon as he can and come back.”

India head into the first ODI as short-priced favourites to take an early lead.

They are made the short-priced favourites to continue their fine form when they get to Hamilton. They can be backed at 1.44 (4/9) with bet365 to bag the win.

New Zealand are available at 2.75 (7/4) to start with a win at Seddon Park.

Fielding must be better, insists the skipper

Rahul has taken the gloves in recent games after Rishabh Pant suffered a concussion against Australia.

He showed he was more than capable of filling the role and India are now keen to stick to the plan.

However, one element the captain wants his side to improve is the fielding.

He said: “We definitely have recognised it as something that, if you look at the average age of this team, it's 27 max.

“So, we should be fielding way better than what we have. I think the standards of fielding overall were not that good from either side.

“T20 cricket it can happen because the game is so fast-paced,” Kohi added. “So once you get into a nervous zone, it's very difficult to get out of it. It's moving so quickly and the ball keeps coming to you.

“Even in one-day cricket, we have had performances that we are not proud of and there's no hiding from it.

“We've spoken about it so many times. You certainly expect a young bunch of guys who are very fit and very, very good fielders to do the job for you in the field collectively and not just focus on batting or bowling. It's about taking all three skills seriously and committing to it.”

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Chris is passionate about all forms of cricket and loves writing about the sport. He has a background in both sport and news journalism and has written cricket and other sports content for several years now. Chris has written about all levels of the game from regional club cricket in England to the international stage. He now brings that experience to the iGaming industry where he combines it with his love of betting. Chris loves to bet on many different sports, but particularly enjoys seeking out the best value bets on offer and passing that on through his coverage.