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Wild swing of fortune for Kohli & Pathan

Hot just before the World Cup, the Virat Kohli and Yusuf Pathan are struggling to meet expectations. Atreyo Mukhopadhyay reports. What Kohli & Pathan have done in the Cup

cricket Updated: Mar 16, 2011 01:04 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

In these days of instant wish fulfilments, things can go up and down in disharmony. Someone in the thick of things after a few matches can feel redundant after a few failures.

Some India players are prime examples of this, right in the middle of a World Cup campaign. It can only add to the weight of expectations, with the team already under scrutiny.

Take the cases of Virat Kohli and Yusuf Pathan. Just before the World Cup, these two were burning bright. Kohli was an epitome of solidity and Pathan was the ruthless slayer. They were hailed as vital cogs in the wheel as India were declared odds-on favourites.

In less than four weeks, if Kohli and Pathan are feeling a bit lost, one can't blame them. For all the composure he brings to the middle, Kohli has become a floater in the batting order, no doubt forced because the top three have come good. Pathan has looked a bit confused after being promoted. Circumstances have played a part, but how, is the question worth probing.

Skipper MS Dhoni himself has acknowledged that Kohli needs time to play himself in, and therefore, must bat at No. 3 or 4. This makes him unsuitable if the team wants to accelerate, having lost just one wicket or so, around the 35th over. So Kohli gets pushed back only to find himself stranded when his turn to bat comes.

Apart from everything else, this can damage his confidence that was sky high, more so after the century against Bangladesh in the first match. Now, after a few failures batting everywhere down the order, he has to start afresh. The fear of being unsuccessful might make him circumspect.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/16_03_11_pg18a.jpg

Pathan, probably, is more a victim of the team's endless expectations. His best, even for Rajasthan Royals and Baroda, came when he was under no pressure to deliver. Even the blinders he has played for India came when he batted at No. 7.

Getting elevated up the order, ahead of bigger names like Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni, and failing cannot do his confidence any good. This may not matter in an inconsequential group league match, but India don't have any such outings left in the tournament.

So, in a stage of the competition where they were supposed to have finalised their plans, India are still looking for answers in several departments. Ideally, Dhoni wouldn't have preferred to be in this position but then, this hasn't been an ideal campaign so far.

Practice cancelled
The Indians cancelled their practice session scheduled for Tuesday. Team officials said the players wanted rest and will train on Wednesday morning.