Mike Hesson admitted the call to have Virat Kohli open for the Royal Challengers Bangalore impacted the team's auction strategy for IPL 2021. RCB’s Director of Cricket Operations revealed the franchise had already made the decision before the IPL 2021 Auction.
Virat Kohli confirmed, after India’s T20I series win, that he will be opening for RCB in IPL 2021. It came after the Indian skipper notched up an unbeaten 80 while opening for India in the series decider.
Discussing Virat Kohli’s decision to open for his franchise on Bold Diaries, Mike Hesson conceded it altered RCB’s strategy going into the auction.
“Certainly, we talked about it before the auction because that came into our auction planning in terms of how we wanted to structure our line-up So certainly no surprise there. Look it is a slightly different structure, but that helped determine our auction planning as well.”
Virat Kohli went to the top of the order with one eye on the T20 World Cup. Although he has denied suggestions that he is set to open in the ICC event, Virat Kohli admits a final call will be made depending on how he fares in the IPL.
The 32-year-old explained that the IPL will allow him to understand his role as an opener. After Virat Kohli grabbed eyeballs during the fifth T20I against England, Mike Hesson claimed RCB were always aware of the Team India skipper's proficiency as an opener.
“Delighted he got an opportunity for India to open the other day and show everybody exactly what he is capable of. We certainly know that, but just another reminder for everybody,” said Mike Hesson.
Virat Kohli opening for RCB throws up an interesting challenge for the team management. It remains to be seen who will take up the No.3 slot. RCB can push AB de Villiers up the order with players like Glenn Maxwell to follow. It will allow them to play another all-rounder or a bowler as well. A few options in that case would be Kyle Jamieson, Adam Zampa or Daniel Sams.
Another option could see someone like Mohammed Azharuddeen take up that No.3 slot, while Hesson has raved about Suyash Prabhudessai's power hitting in the lower order too.
Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal confirmed as RCB openers
While Virat Kohli averages 38.16 in the IPL, it shoots up to 47.86 when he opens for RCB. His strike also improves from 130.74 to 140.17 when he bats at the top of the order.
Virat Kohli has scored all his IPL hundreds while opening the innings, crossing the three-figure mark on five occasions. His 15 fifties as an opener are only bettered by his 20 fifties while batting at No.3.
Mike Hesson confirmed that Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli would be their openers for IPL 2021. The two batsmen amassed 939 runs in 15 games last year, and Mike Hesson salivated at the prospect of seeing the two Indians at the top.
“So yeah, really looking forward to Virat opening the batting with Devdutt. Left-right combination, different types of players and obviously we know Virat’s record after he gets through to the powerplay. He is phenomenal, especially if he bats at the top,” said Hesson.