Kohli-Rohit tag-team in T20Is

Today News Online Service

Chandigarh, March 21

KL Rahul seems to have made up Virat Kohli’s mind — the India captain has decided that he would open the batting along with Rohit Sharma at the T20 World Cup.

There’s no sense of false modesty about Kohli — the captain, rightly, has decided that since he and Rohit are the best batsmen in the team, they must face the most deliveries. “…It’s about your two best players getting the maximum number of balls in T20 cricket,” Kohli said after India won the final T20I against England, and the series with it.

Rahul, in his last seven T20I innings since international cricket resumed, has made 51, 30, 0, 1, 0, 0, 14. The last four scores, against England, gave him a series average of less than 4 an innings. Kohli, thus, dropped Rahul for the final T20I and himself moved up the order to open. He and Rohit added 94 off 54 balls, and Kohli himself remained unbeaten on 80 off 52.

Rahul’s place in the XI could have been saved, in spite of the low scores, only if he had been keeping wickets. But the batting resurgence of Rishabh Pant since the tour of Australia meant that Rahul’s utility as a wicketkeeper-batsman has diminished. He got four innings and four failures against England — there was no fifth opportunity. The stunning debuts of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav mean that there will be lesser tolerance for recurrent failure.

Open season

“I am going to open in IPL as well. I have batted in different positions in the past. But I feel we have a solid middle order now. So, I will definitely like to partner Rohit at the top going into the T20 World Cup,” Kohli said after India’s victory.

Last night’s was Kohli’s eighth innings as a T20I opener, but the first with Rohit. His average as an opener is 39.71; before last night’s knock, it was 28.28.

He’s batted at No. 3 in 57 out of 84 innings, made 2,329 runs for an average of 58.22. This statistic shows his amazing success at No. 3; the number becomes even more staggering if we compute his No. 3 batting average in India’s wins — it’s 74.52. This is a remarkable figure for T20I cricket.

Kohli moving from No. 3 to No. 1, thus, may seem a move that’s could backfire — why fix something that’s not broke? Kohli, of course, wants to fix the No. 1 problem, but isn’t there the danger that a new problem could arise at No. 3? Kohli, though, says he’s confident about the younger lot.

“Even with so much dew coming in, like last game we’ve defended the total again. Despite Rishabh and Iyer not getting a chance (to bat) we put on 225,” said Kohli. “It’s a testimony to our batting depth… Also, how Shreyas batted in the last game and the responsibility he showed in the first game. Ishan (Kishan) was brilliant. I was particularly pleased with Surya. Confidence level of (Shardul) Thakur after that series in Australia is sky high. With the ball, his strength is his belief. Proper cricketer. Giving us runs with the bat as well.”

  • 1, 0, 0, 14 KL Rahul’s four innings against England
  • 58.22 Virat Kohli’s average at
  • No. 3 in T20Is 74.52
  • Kohli’s average at No. 3 in India’s wins in T20Is
  • 39.71 Kohli’s average as an opener in T20Is

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