India skipper Virat Kohli backed teammate KL Rahul as India endured a heavy defeat against England in the third T20I in Ahmedabad. The hosts got off to a dreadful start after being asked to bat first as KL Rahul was dismissed on duck in the first over of the match.  

KL Rahul, who had a splendid outing with the bat last year, has been going through a rough patch as he was dismissed on duck by Mark Wood in the first over of the contest. This was his second duck in three matches.  

When asked to Kohli about his views on Rahul’s form, the Indian skipper said that the opener, who has also performed the wicketkeeping duties in limited-overs, is a ‘champion’ player. 

“He (KL Rahul) has been a champions player. He’ll continue to be one of our main players along with Rohit at the top of the order. It’s a matter of five-six balls in this format,” Kohli said during the post-match presentation ceremony. 

Kohli further added that he too was enduring a rough patch prior to his consecutive fifties. Kohli was dismissed on duck in India’s final Test and first T20I against England. “I was going through a lean patch two days back,” the right-handed batsman said, who scored an unbeaten 46-ball 77 in the contest to help India pile a respectable 156/6 in 20 overs. 

Speaking on the pitch and the outcome from the contest, Kohli said: “It was a bit difficult to bat against the new ball. Their bowlers were hitting good areas. We got one little partnership, it was important for me to bat deep. The case was to get set and try to get a decent total. I was going through a lean patch two days back.” 

The Indian skipper also hailed the tourist pace battery, which restricted India to 24/3 in the powerplay overs, the fourth-lowest score in the powerplay overs in T20Is. 

“England bowlers were brilliant with the new ball, made our lives difficult, we tried to come back,” Kohli said.   

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