How India missed Virat Kohli's presence in the first T20 against Bangladesh
Bangladesh created history by beating India in their own backyard in the first T20 in Delhi. A modest target of 149 was chased down by The Tigers with three balls to spare. In fact, the match was as good as over by the 19th over when Mushfiqur Rahim smashed Khaleel Ahmed for four consecutive boundaries.
It was the first time that Bangladesh had managed to beat India in nine attempts in T20 cricket. This loss came as a bolt from the blue for the Indian team, who are near-invincible at home. The loss of Rohit Sharma in the very first over proved to be a setback for India. The stand-in skipper has been in ethereal form throughout the year, and after scoring two crisp boundaries, Rohit was trapped in front by an inswinger from Shafiul Islam.
Even though the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant got starts, they could not kick on and get a big score. And this is where India badly missed the presence of batting maestro Virat Kohli. The Indian skipper has been rested for the T20 leg of the series and will return to action for the two Tests later this month.
Kohli is the second-highest run-scorer in the history of T20 cricket, and has been the fulcrum of the Indian batting line up for almost a decade now. There is no batsman in the world today who can pace the innings as good as Kohli. The legendary batsman combines caution with aggression and has often acted as the catalyst who sets up the innings for India.
And, in the first T20 against Bangladesh, no Indian batsman lasted long enough in the middle to set the innings up and this is where India missed Kohli’s presence. In fact, Kohli’s mastery with the willow has proved pivotal as India have, on several occasions, rode on Kohli’s brilliance to get across the finish line in the last decade. Kohli’s ability to gauge the situation at hand, his ability to back himself and his ability to manoeuvre the ball in the gaps with the precision of a surgeon marks him out as the best batsman of the modern era.
The lack of experience in the middle order was clearly exposed in the first T20, and India really need to pull up their socks and produce a better batting performance in the second T20 to avoid another upset. And it was evident that a batsman of Kohli’s class would have proved vital in India finishing with a total of over 160 as against the 148 they ultimately ended up with.
For, gifted players are pivotal to any team, and there is no doubting that Kohli is indeed an extremely special talent.