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Who gets dropped from middle order if Rahul opens & Kohli plays at No. 3

Who gets dropped from middle order if Rahul opens & Kohli plays at No. 3

New Delhi: Even one year back it was beyond imagination that Virat Kohli's place in the Indian team could be questioned.

Kohli is fit and available but perhaps for the first time in a decade, the former India captain's presence in the playing eleven could be a point of discussion in cricketing circle.

The T20 World Cup in the UAE last year was an unmitigated disaster and it was largely due to India's archaic batting philosophy at the top of the order. The runs scored did not come at a good pace.

It was debated if KL Rahul, Rohit and Kohli are the ideal No. 1, 2, and 3 in the shortest format and the answer received from most quarters wasn't exactly in the affirmative.

A good 10 months down line, the Indian team management finds itself at the same crossroads with another edition set to commence in October.

If India repeats its top three in Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup, then one of the three other top T20 performers -- Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav and Dinesh Karthik -- would find it tough to stay inside playing XI.

Pant has that 'x-factor', Suryakumar has a bonafide 360 degree hitter and Karthik is a designated finisher.

Can India ill-afford to drop any one of the three if Kohli or Rahul has to be slotted? It is an important question and till now there hasn't been any definitive answer. Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja's positions as all-rounders seem non-negotiable and at least four specialist bowlers are required in the line-up. That leaves India with the option of only five specialist batters and hence the big question -- who to drop?

Rahul and Kohli are back in the side to claim their positions which they have owned for years but a big question looming in the horizon is whether their positions in the first XI in T20Is have become untenable?

After the T20 World Cup last year, Kohli has played only four shortest format matches spread across nine months, scoring 17, 52, 1 and 11.

For Chetan Sharma's selection committee, despite the champion batter's indifferent form, this was too small a sample size to take a definitive step. The bigger question is whether the team management will let Kohli play his own game which is to build the innings and accelerate after getting set.

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