T20 World Cup: A Virat-sized problem for Team India | Cricket News

The batting superstar’s poor run as opener is the only jarring note; team heads to Miami next for final league engagement
NEW YORK: Indian cricket fans got everything they wanted from the New York leg of the World Cup. In the makeshift Nassau County Ground, which will be dismantled over the next few days, the Men in Blue played three games which offered completely different flavours.
While Ireland was a standard walk in the park, the Pakistan game had all the highs and lows that you can expect from a top-of-the-chart encounter. The match against USA, meanwhile, was a battle of attrition in which India triumphed after enduring a few difficult phases.
Amid all this, there was one note that went just a little off-tune: the form of Virat Kohli. The thousands who filled the stands on all three days had one common wish, a meaningful contribution from their favourite superstar.
Low scores of 1, 4 and 0 in three consecutive games isn’t something that we have seen too often from the modern master, who came into the World Cup on the back of some magnificent knocks in the IPL.
Kohli was a superhit as an opener in the IPL, prompting captain Rohit Sharma to book that slot for him in the T20 World Cup. The captain was also very categorical when he said that his and Kohli’s are the only two slots that are “fixed”, while the rest will move up and down “as per the situation”.

But in the three games here, Virat seemed to be unsure where his off-stump is, a problem that has plagued him in the past, notably during India’s 2014 tour of England, when he had aggregated 137 runs from four Tests. That, however, is now ancient history and Kohli subsequently was able to completely turn things around against the moving ball.
The conditions here in New York have been quite unique. The ball has completely dominated the bat. It’s not just the movement but also the up-and-down nature of the track that has kept batters on their toes.
What could have gone against Kohli was the fact that he joined the team a little late. He missed the practice match against Bangladesh at the venue and went into the tournament slightly undercooked.
But the champion batter has put in a lot of effort in the nets to get it all sorted out. Two days before the Pakistan game, he batted for almost two hours and everything seemed to be coming from the middle of the bat.


“We know what Virat brings to the table and how good he can be. Yes, he joined a bit late, but he is putting in all the hard work to get used to the conditions,” Rohit had said on the eve of the match against Pakistan.
It is true that Virat has looked good at the nets, but that form somehow hasn’t translated into performances in the World Cup so far. The worrying bit is that there is a serious rain threat in Miami – the venue of India’s final league game against Canada – and there could be a case where all their practice sessions get washed out. There is a question mark on the game itself on Sunday and that could mean Kohli might not get too much time to work on his batting before the Super-8s start.
The team, however, has enough belief in their No. 1 batter. Shivam Dube, who also endured a bit of a rough patch explained, said, “Who am I to talk about Kohli? If he hasn’t got runs in three games, he may well get three hundreds in the next three and there will be no more discussions.”
Rohit, of course, has the option of bringing in Yashasvi Jaiswal in as his opening partner and drop Kohli down to his regular No. 3 spot. But the captain doesn’t want to do that because he believes the former skipper is best suited at the top and the team will not be able to include four allrounders if Kohli comes down the order.
It’s the faith the team management has in Kohli that has stopped them from taking any harsh decisions. It’s now on the batting great to flick on that switch which will once again make us believe in the cliché that ‘class is permanent’.


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