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Virat causing problem of plenty for India

cricket Updated: Nov 29, 2010 00:51 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
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Virat Kohli is still trying to become an automatic choice in the ODI XI. His biggest problem is if all seniors are available, the top three slots in India's batting line-up - occupied by Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir - are untouchable.

India's first match of the World Cup, against Bangladesh in Mirpur, is still around two-and-a-half months away but with back-to-back hundreds in ODIs and nine more matches to go, Kohli is sending out strong signals. The problem is finding a slot for him, considering the fact that Kohli comes in at No 3. This definitely is a very good position to be in for India coach Gary Kirsten, with a problem of plenty.

The best thing about Kohli, which came through on Sunday as well, is the way he paces his innings. He let Gambhir take charge initially and when the flamboyant Yuvraj Singh joined him, the 22-year old showed a mature head to give his senior partner most of the strike.

Kohli took 13 matches to get his first ton, at Eden Gardens against Sri Lanka last year, when with Gambhir he carved out a series-clinching victory. Even there, he let Gambhir take charge initially and grew with the partnership.

Over the next 20 innings he has played, Kohli has scored three more hundreds, with a 91 against Bangladesh in Mirpur in January and an 82 against Sri Lanka in Bulawayo in May. His last hundred, at Visakhapatnam against Australia paved the way for an India victory.

"Virat is a special player. I have seen him from close quarters during my stint with the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the IPL and the most fascinating thing I find about him is the way he paced his innings," New Zealand's stand-in skipper Ross Taylor said after the match.