Virat Kohli faces the axe after poor show, Jasprit Bumrah India's saving grace in T20 World Cup team picked by Atherton | Crickit
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Virat Kohli faces the axe after poor show, Jasprit Bumrah India's saving grace in T20 World Cup team picked by Atherton

Jun 18, 2024 06:03 PM IST

With 5 runs from three innings, it shouldn't surprise anyone to see Virat Kohli not be part of this team.

It may be early stages in the T20 World Cup but 40 matches are enough for the former England cricketing pair of Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton to select their way too early team of the tournament. Following a disastrous outing in the USA leg of the tournament, Virat Kohli has found no place in the rarest of rare decisions, while pacer Jasprit Bumrah is the lone Indian in the team.

Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah during a practice session.(ANI)
Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah during a practice session.(ANI)

In an unexpected dip in form, Kohli managed 5 runs in three innings in India's first three matches of the T20 World Cup. Kohli was dismissed for 1 against Ireland, and even though he began with a crisp boundary against Pakistan, Virat slashed Naseem Shah to the point. Things only went from bad to worse for the star India batter as he fell for a golden duck – his first in an ICC tournament – edging USA's Saurabh Netravalkar to the keeper. The pitches in the USA haven't exactly suited Kohli's batting, and he is expected to regain his form once India kickstart their Super Eight campaign against Afghanistan in the West Indies.

Bumrah's performances, meanwhile, have been a stark contrast to Kohli's. With five wickets from three games, Bumrah is India's third-highest wicket-taker behind Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya, who have picked seven wickets each. Against Ireland, Bumrah finished with highly-economical figures of 2/6 before delivering a game-changing spell against Pakistan, en route to grabbing 3 wickets for 14 runs. He went wicketless against the USA but looked probing all the time.

Atherton's team comprises Scotland's Brandon McMullen, USA's Aaron Jones, Travis Head of Australia, Rahmanullah Gurbaz of Afghanistan, followed by Australia's Marcus Stoinis, David Miller of South Africa, Alzarri Joseph and Akeal Hossain representing the West Indies, Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa, Afghanistan's Fazalhaq Farooqi and Jasprit Bumrah of India.

"We came up with Gurbaz at the top of the order for Afghanistan. He's had a good time, along with Travis Head. McMullen has had a good time with Scotland at 3. Aaron Jones, who you've seen and play for the USA, who played a part in those early wins against Canada and Pakistan. Marcus Stoinis has had a good tournament in the middle order, along with David Miller. You mentioned South Africa's top order is not firing, but Miller in the lower order dragged them out of a hole," Atherton said.

"We had Bumrah, obviously. He had to be in," added Nasser Hussain.

Why just one Indian in the list?

Surprisingly, while two players each from Afghanistan and West Indies and three from Australia, found a place, India had only one spot reserved, which undoubtedly belonged to Bumrah. Hardik and Arshdeep were ignored, as were Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant. Pant, in fact, has been a revelation for India at No. 3 with scores of 42 against Pakistan and 36 not out against Ireland.

And of course, while it's pretty odd not to have Kohli, the highest run-scorer in the last two World Cups, in there as well, he has a chance to turn things around in the Caribbean leg.

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