Indian skipper Virat Kohli recently disclosed that he will open the innings in the IPL 2021. Venerable cricket pundit Joy Bhattacharya believes this decision has more to it than what meets the eye.
Speaking to Cricbuzz, Bhattacharya said Virat Kohli is sending a 'signal' to Team India selectors that he would like to continue to open the innings even in the impending T20 World Cup.
"Virat loves his RCB[Royal Challenegers Bangalore] but he loves his India colors more than anything else and who would blame him for that. If he's deciding to open throughout the IPL, that's clearly also sending a message to the selectors saying that's the position I want to play in the World Cup. Because he's not going to play the entire IPL opening just to go back to No. 3 necessarily. He's also saying 'this is my position, this is where I am trying to make a stand, guys think of me in that position'," said Joy Bhattacharya.
Virat Kohli opened for the 8th time in India's blue in the 5th T20I against England. With his partner Rohit Sharma taking the role of aggressor, the 32-year-old looked at home and scored a scintillating 80 not out off just 52 balls.
He has opened a lot more times in the IPL. In 61 innings, Virat Kohli has amassed over 2300 runs at an average of 47.86, striking at 140.17. Virat Kohli's five T20 tons have all come while batting at the top of the order as well.
"RCB will be a lot stronger by having Virat Kohli at the top of the order" - Michael Vaughan
Former England captain Michael Vaughan also believes the RCB will be a more formidable side with Virat Kohli as the opener.
"He [Virat Kohli] could bat anywhere but I think they [Team India and RCB] have found something. I think the RCB will be a lot stronger by having Virat Kohli at the top of the order. He will be so consistent on those wickets. If you ask any batsman that's worth any kind of salt 'Where would you like to bat in India?', and you'll get 'I'll open the batting please'. I think he will have some fun over the next few months opening the batting. We are going to see some fine innings," said Michael Vaughan in the same interview.
The IPL season will commence with a clash between the RCB and Mumbai Indians on April 9 according to the IPL timetable 2021. But before that, Virat Kohli will feature in the 3-match ODI series against England which begins Tuesday, March 23.