Galle: India skipper Virat Kohli has hinted at Hardik Pandya's inclusion in the playing XI in the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka starting Wednesday, saying that the all-rounder has a "great chance of playing".
"We got a guy like Hardik Pandya, who has a knack of picking wickets. He has a great chance of playing as well. That gives us the balance. The extra batsman gives us more solidarity," said Kohli on the eve of the first Test during the presser.
When asked if Rohit Sharma could open the innings in absence of both the regular openers, the Indian skipper replied in negative and said: "Rohit has never opened in a Test cricket and we don't see that kind of experiment happening here because we have specialist openers in the team and they will obviously be starting this game."
The 28-year-old also said that it was unfortunate that after Murali Vijay, KL Rahul was also ruled out of the Galle Test with viral fever.
"Rahul is unfortunately down with fever. Luckily, it is not anything serious. So he will get back in a few days," he said.
"KL is a very established player for us, a very solid player. These kinds of scenarios present other players in the team with an opportunity to step up," he added.
Kohli also insisted that the team was not looking at the series as a launchpad, but is focused about playing consistently.
"We don't see any series as a launchpad but it is about playing consistently. We realise what needs to be done. We are humble in our preparation and are willing to do ever hard yards every game we play," he said.
"The next phase of cricket for us is going to be challenging but we believe we have the kind of skills available to face the challenge," he added.
The star Indian batsman also exuded confidence ahead of the series and that all they need to do is fine tune small areas of concern.
"I don't think there are any massive areas of concern for us. We have been looking to fine tunes in smaller areas during the course of the game which probably people might not pick up also, that can lead us to a situation which is not ideal."
The Indian team would be keen to avenge their loss at the Galle in 2015 when they were bowled out for 112 while chasing 176 on Day Four....