‘None of the batters have scored’: Former India coach slams Virat Kohli's doubters, says ‘scores will flow in Super 8’ | Crickit
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‘None of the batters have scored’: Former India coach slams Virat Kohli's doubters, says ‘scores will flow in Super 8’

Jun 14, 2024 05:55 PM IST

Changing Virat Kohli's number would also mean sliding Rishabh Pant back to No.5, where he hasn't had much success unless India want to swap their positions.

No matter how hard you try, it's difficult not to talk about Virat Kohli during a T20 World Cup, especially when he is not among the runs. Kohli has an unmatchable record in T20 World Cups. He just never fails in this tournament. Perhaps that's why it's doubly difficult to accept scores of 1, 4 and 0 in this World Cup so far. Despite the low returns in New York, Kohli comfortably sits on top of the highest scorer's list in T20 World Cups with 1167 runs in 30 matches at an average of 67.41.

Virat Kohli of India(Getty Images via AFP)
Virat Kohli of India(Getty Images via AFP)

To put Kohli's record into perspective, no other batter in the top 30 of that list averages over 50. The next-best average among batters who have scored at least 500 runs in the T20 World Cup is Kevin Pietersen's 44.61. That speaks volumes about Kohli's consistency at the biggest stage. He has not only lasted the test of time but also aced it with class. Who can forget his unbeaten 82 off 53 balls against Pakistan in last edition's World Cup in Melbourne? Or his 82* off 51 balls in the 2016 T20 World Cup quarterfinal against Australia in Mohali? There are many others.

But all those have come batting at No.3 - a spot synonymous with Kohli. In this World Cup, however, the Indian team management gave him a new role of opening the batting. The role may not be entirely new to Kohli as he has been doing the same for his franchise, Royal Challengers Bengaluru, in the IPL for the last few seasons. Even in international cricket, he had a pretty enviable record while batting at the top of the order. In fact, his only century in this format came while opening the batting against Afghanistan in an Asia Cup match in 2022.

But the pitches in New York and the urge to go hard from the word go may have acted against Kohli's natural instincts in this World Cup. He hasn't looked that comfortable in the middle in any of the three matches against Ireland, Pakistan and the USA.

After three consecutive low scores, the questions are bound to come. Should India rethink the idea of opening with Kohli?

India have entered this World Cup with a rather unexpected batting line-up. They opened with Rohit Sharma and Kohli and promoted Rishabh Pant to No.3. Kohli may not have scored runs, but Pant has been very successful in the tournament. His pyrotechniques at No.3 have worked well on the sluggish tracks.

Changing Kohli's position would also mean sliding Pant back to No.5, where he hasn't had much success unless captain Rohit and head coach Rahul Dravid want to pull off another surprise by swapping Pant and Kohli's batting positions.

'Virat Kohli's runs will flow in Super 8'

Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar said there is nothing to worry about Kohli's form. The former India all-rounder said one shouldn't judge Kohli's performance based on his scores in New York as none of the batters have been able to get going on those two-paced tracks.

"Yeah, I agree that Virat Kohli hasn't scored in the New York leg, but none of the other batsmen have also managed to score a lot of runs on this track. This is a tricky surface, and therefore, I feel that a big score is just around the corner. He is a player who has excelled at the World Cup events and once the tournament moves to the next phase, those competitive juices will start flowing again and he will start putting up performances for his team," Bangar told Star Sports.

India have already ensured qualification to the Super 8 stage. Their last Group A match will be against Canada on Saturday. However, the weather in Florida can become a huge obstacle towards getting a full game.

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