How Virat Kohli decided to open the batting for RCB this season

The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli might only have confirmed last week that he would open the batting in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), but team director Mike Hesson has said that the idea of Kohli playing as an opener was discussed before the mini-auction only last month.

The RCB is set to play the IPL 2021 opener against Mumbai Indians on April 9 in Chennai. “Certainly we talked about Virat opening the batting before the auction, because that came in our auction planning and how we wanted to structure our lineup. Certainly, no surprise there, delighted that he got an opportunity to open for India the other day and showed everybody what he is capable of. We certainly know that, but it is just another reminder for everybody,” said Hesson in a video posted on the official Twitter handle of RCB.

“Looking forward to Virat opening the batting with Devdutt Padikkal, left-right combination, obviously different types of players. We know Virat’s record after he gets through the powerplay, he is phenomenal,” he added.

Kohli had opened the batting for India in the fifth and final T20I against England last week. In that match, he went on to play an unbeaten knock of 80 as the hosts triumphed over England in the five-match series.

After the match, Kohli had said: “I am going to open in the IPL to keep all options open. I have batted at three, four and now I need to understand my role as an opener which I have done successfully in the past in T20 cricket so that I provide an option to open up a slot for someone like Surya, if he can continue to bat like that, I should be open to playing any kind of role that the team requires me to. We will have a conversation about this when we get closer to the T20 World Cup. It would be interesting to see how I go about my job as an opener in the IPL.”

‘AB de Villiers is real wicketkeeping option’
Hesson said that AB de Villiers will once again be a wicketkeeping option for the franchise this season. De Villiers donned the wicketkeeping gloves and he is expected to do the same this year if it fixes the balance of the playing XI.

“We were delighted with the fact that Ab de Villiers loved wicketkeeping and he embraced it. He wanted to continue doing it, he is a real option, we now have a couple of other wicketkeeping options which is great. Mohammed Azharuddeen is a natural athlete with the gloves and in the field. We also have KS Bharat, he is a natural keeper, gives us different options as well,” Hesson said in the video.

“We are not going to make the commitment now to you guys as to who will do what. We are really pleased with the options we have got and AB is certainly one of those,” he added.

RCB`s training camp will begin on March 29 for the upcoming edition of the IPL. Hesson earlier had said that AB de Villiers will arrive on March 28 for the upcoming IPL.