Three Talking Points from the England Squad Selection
#2 England are targeting Virat Kohli
England has a history of targeting great batsmen. After all, the Bodyline series of 1932 (mostly plotted to stop the great Donald Bradman) and Nasser Hussein’s infamous leg theory to stop Sachin Tendulkar are both part of cricketing folklore.
England might be trying to do the same to a lesser extent against India as they come up against Virat Kohli.
While Kohli averaged a horrible 13.40 in his last series in England, he has since become one of the batsmen in the world, averaging an incredible 73.11 runs since the start of 2016. Thus, it is not surprising that England is trying to come up with plans against him. After all, most of England’s controversial squad selections can be attributed as targeting Kohli.
Firstly, Adil Rashid’s selection can partially be attributed to his dismissal of Kohli in the third ODI when a decent ball befuddled Kohli who was bowled.
Despite having played no first-class cricket for a year, Rashid was selected thus suggesting a possible inclination to target the Indian captain.
Similar reasons seem to have coloured the selection of Jamie Porter, who was the top wicket-taker in the Championship last season.
Yet he was not selected for subsequent tours against Australia and New Zealand or the home series against Pakistan.
It was only in this series against India, that Porter was finally chosen. This is perhaps because (as discussed by Alan Butcher on the Switch Hit Podcast yesterday) Porter has the ability to swing the ball outside off stump in an area that Kohli is likely to find uncomfortable. It is clear that England is focused on wicket more than all others: that of the Indian captain.