Virat Kohli reveals why he decided to open the batting in Kanpur T20I
- Indian skipper alludes to Rohit Sharma's absence and the need to add balance to the side.
What’s the story?
Indian captain Virat Kohli has attributed his decision to open in the 1st T20I at Kanpur to a combination of various factors. Ranging from regular opener Rohit Sharma’s injury to the need to lend balance to the side, he shed light into his thought-process at the end of the game.
“I open in IPL and that is a T20 tournament. So I have an idea (of how to adapt to the role) and that is why I went in to open. I did not go there to look special. Everyone anyway was expecting that. My opening gives more balance to the team. You can have an extra batsman in the middle order. A player like Suresh Raina gets more dangerous at three. So when Rohit is not around as an opener, I can anytime step up because it provides more balance”, Kohli said at the post-match press conference.
When asked if he would open in the next game, he added, “It depends. If Rohit was in the side, there is no question that he would be then opening with (KL) Rahul. I have no urge to open, I play at three, I can play anywhere according to what the management thinks. You can’t ask someone to open if he has not done it in the past. It would be unfair on him.”
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The skipper opened the proceedings alongside Rahul on a two-paced surface at the Green Park Stadium. The England bowlers exploited the conditions smartly to make regular inroads into India’s batting lineup.
Having restricted the hosts to 147/7, Eoin Morgan led from the front with an attacking knock to seal a seven-wicket victory and the accompanying 1-0 lead.
The heart of the matter
Kohli began promisingly with a few delectable shots. Just when he looked like kicking on for another substantial score, he smashed a Moeen Ali delivery towards Morgan who hung on to complete a stunning catch.
Upon beginning his T20I captaincy with a loss, the 28-year old acknowledged the importance of performances from the top of the order. He played down concerns regarding Rahul’s woeful form by stating that it has been difficult to unearth international quality openers and stressed on the necessity to continue backing them.
The second T20I of the series is slated to begin on Sunday at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur. Recent international matches at the venue have thrown up interesting results with pitches ranging from rank turners to batting belters. It remains to be seen if the team management decides to alter the batting lineup.
With an average of 56.20 and strike-rate of 134.98, Kohli is the best batsman going around in international T20s. Though he could not meet his high standards in Kanpur, the Delhi dasher should continue to open the innings in this format.
Especially with Rohit out injured and Rahul struggling for form, his presence at the top of the order could go a long way in giving India solid starts in the immediate future.