Should Virat Kohli…be in India’s T20 World Cup squad? Should he not? The burning question in every Indian fan’s mind. Rohit Sharma is getting increasingly annoyed with every press conference (Here are his conferences after the 1st ODI and 2nd ODI vs England).
Virat Kohli has now been rested for the West Indies 5-match T20I series. India’s series against South Africa and Ireland gave a hint of India’s new aggressive gameplay and how the future might look without Kohli. These five games against the West Indies will make it clear, can India survive without Virat Kohli?
Here is my take—Virat Kohli should be in the Indian T20 World Cup squad but as a floater, not the #3 batter.
What are the Pros of Having Virat Kohli in India’s T20 World Cup Squad?
Several international players have come to Virat Kohli’s defense. Rohit Sharma reiterated that even though each player suffers from ups and downs in his or her career, the player’s quality never reduces. Here are some other reasons why a player like Virat Kohli might be valuable in a T20 World Cup.
Experience matters in a World Cup
Great record across formats in Australia consistently for the past 14 years
Player of the tournament in 2014/2016 T20 World Cups. Single handedly carried India.
Although IPL record is poor, his recent T20I stats have been pretty decent
Virat Kohli’s T20I Stats Since December 2020 (Post-Pandemic Break)
One of the misconceptions from Virat Kohli’s bad form is due to all formats getting mixed – Tests, ODIs, T20Is, and IPL. He has horrid IPL seasons and been found out at the Test level at times as well, but in ODIs and T20Is, he has been pretty solid.
In summary, since Dec 2020, Virat Kohli in T20Is has stats:
17 matches, 15 innings, 514 runs, 46.72 average, 134.55 SR, best of 85, 6 fifties, 1 duck
Here are his overall career T20I stats:
99 matches, 91 innings, 3308 runs, 50.12 average, 137.66 SR, best of 94*, 30 fifties, 3 ducks
What are the Cons of Having Virat Kohli in India’s T20 World Cup Squad?
Now that we have discussed some of the positives, now let us discuss what is on everybody’s mind. Kapil Dev, Venkatesh Prasad, and lots of other cricketers have asked for players to be picked on form and merit, not reputation.
So, is there a way to fitting Virat Kohli in the squad while considering both of these things?
The answer is YES. Virat Kohli can play a similar role to what Steve Smith played during Australia’s 2021 T20 World Cup victory run.
Possible Scenarios for Virat Kohli
Since India are going with an ultra-aggressive batting approach, there will be volatile days when the team may collapse. Going for 225 everyday, the team might end up collapsing for a score below 100.
In this case, a Grant Elliot-esque insurance policy is needed. For India, Virat Kohli can be that insurance policy (In the current setup, either Dinesh Karthik comes in earlier to do this role or Axar Patel has been sent to delay DK’s entry. In both cases, India lost momentum. Virat Kohli instead of Axar Patel would be the ideal scenario)
Here are some get possible scenarios:
If openers have a blazing start, send in Sanju Samson-Suryakumar Yadav-Hardik Pandya, etc. depending on the situation/number of overs left. Push Virat Kohli down the order until absolutely necessary.
If an opener gets out early, still send Suryakumar Yadav in hoping he will continue the positive approach. However, if another wicket falls during this tricky phase, send Virat Kohli at #4 to stem the flow of wickets.
While chasing, if it is a tricky small run-chase in difficult batting conditions, send Virat Kohli at #3.
Another option is to carry him in the World Cup squad without playing him in the XI. In case another batter is horridly out of form during the World Cup or gets injured, Virat Kohli can adapt to whatever role is necessary.
In this way, India will still be utilizing Virat Kohli’s core skills and experience rather than expecting him to be India’s modern T20 #3 batter.
Rohit Sharma made it clear in his press conference that each player will be given confidence, especially since India are trying to play with a new approach. Failures will happen, but judgements should not be made based on one or two series.
These were my two cents. I have presented you with both perspectives. What do you think? Which side are you on?
The number of days it took both Sir Alastair Cook & Joe Root to break the 10,000 run barrier, incidentally the only two English two cricketers to do so. In comparison, it took the great Sachin Tendulkar 31 years & 326 days to breach that mark.
What a moment. 10,000 runs with the same shot as his 100 at Lord’s. Nasser Hussain, as he always does, chose the best possible words to sum it up,
The Tale of Three Legends—Joe Root, Sachin Tendulkar, and Alastair Cook
By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 06/08/2022
What’s better? Since his debut, it has only taken Root 9 years & 171 days to achieve this landmark. In comparison, Jayawardene-Tendulkar-Gavaskar took about 14-15 years after their debuts and Younis-Chanderpaul about 17-18 years (And yes yes, you’re right. Root took 218 innings, Cook took 229, and England play more Tests than anybody else, but that isanother story).
Joe Root is definitely in the prime of his career. There was a time when Root was going to be uprooted from the Fab 4. With Root inability to convert fifties into hundreds, Babar Azam’s glorious entry, Kane Williamson’s prime, & the god-level cricket Steven Smith & Virat Kohli were producing between 2016-2018, surely Root’s status was being questioned.
Post the pandemic, Smith, Kohli, and Williamson’s needles have barely moved, both in terms of runs and hundreds.
Joe Root, on the other hand, has been on a different level. 21 Tests, 41 innings, 9 hundreds, 4 fifties, 56.23 average since January 2021. And these 9 hundreds include 5 daddy hundreds—228, 218, 186, 180*, and 153. The fact that he did this as England’s Test captain, when they only won 1 out of 17 Tests, in conditions such as Sri Lanka, India, West Indies, and Australia makes his run even more unbelievable.
So naturally the question arises. In the prime of his career, relieved of captaincy pressure, with possibly another 5-10 years ahead of him,can Joe Root break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 15,921 Test runs?
Root has left the rest of the Fab Four in his tracks 😲
Cook scored his first hundred at at the age of 21. In the next 7 years, he racked up 25 total. In his prime, his record read:
2009: 3 Tons
Tons in overseas Ashes win & subcontinental hundreds, Cook was at the top of the world. Even though he slowed down after 2013, by the time he climbed the 10K runs mountain, he had already amassed 28 Test centuries. And he was still young.
It looked like he was meant to break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 51 Test hundreds.
But then he didn’t.
He fell short. In fact, very, very short. Not by one, or two, or even 10 hundreds. By 18 hundreds.
Alastair Cook would only score 5 more centuries and retire from international cricket at the age of 33.
In comparison, when Tendulkar was about 31 years & 157 days old, he had 33 centuries already.
However, his form was about to take a dip. Between December 2004 & May 2007, Tendulkar only scored one Test century, a 109 vs Sri Lanka in 2005.
Questions were asked. Retirement calls surrounded the media. He couldn’t seem to go past the nervous nineties in ODI cricket. Tennis elbow injuries, Greg Chappell controversy, 2007 ODI WC horror—you name it, it looked like the end for legend Sachin Tendulkar.
But then Sachin Tendulkar had a second wind (almost as long as other people’s entire career). From 2008-2011, he scored 14 Test centuries. That is 14 hundreds after the age of 35.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Joe Rooooooooooooot needs 5906 more Test runs to equal Tendulkar’s record of 15,921, which is a very long way to go
He’s scored 5912 runs in his last 69 Tests
You could add Trescothick’s entire career to Root’s and it would still be short of Tendulkar’s runs
As Mark Puttick pointed out, Trescothick scored 5825 runs in his entire 76-Test career. Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh’s most prolific Test run-scorer, has scored 5235 runs after 82 Tests and 15 years.
Root needs 5906 more.
He either needs to continue his golden touch for couple more years or needs to have a Tendulkar-esque final phase.
So, Can Joe Root Overtake Sachin Tendulkar’s Test Run Tally?
Cook retired early not because cricket had left him. He retired because he had given his everything to the game and achieved what every aspiring English player would dream of. He might even have been burnt out.
It was just a personal choice. Maybe he just wanted to give back to the roots at Essex. He is still going strong at County Cricket. Currently standing at 72 first class tons and having a stellar season.
Life is nonlinear.
Unlike statistics on a chart, real-life will have its share of twists and turns. There will be bumps on the road. Us armchair critics just jump to conclusions too quickly. No individual can continue to be at the peak of powers infinitely.
By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 06/04/2022
Cheteshwar Pujara. Mohammad Rizwan. Sussex. One of the highlights of the County Cricket summer so far.
Pujara’s run was nothing short of astonishing—5 matches, 8 innings, 4 centuries, including two doubles, 720 runs, 120 average. Rizwan, although not as prolific, hit a couple of half centuries as well. Pujara has now made a comeback to the Indian Test team for the fifth Test and has acclimatized to the English conditions a month ahead of time.
NZ looked in all sorts and decimated to 132/10 via ageless Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, and debutant Matty Potts. In response, England punched above their weight and scored 59/0 with Zak Crawley finally finding some form.
Then Crawley threw it away. 59/1 No worries.
Then departed ever-promising never-performing Ollie Pope. England 75/2. Root stepped into the ground after 20 overs. Can you believe that, 20 overs? Two backfoot punches, business as usual. England 92/2.
However, Colin de Grandhomme reignited 2019 WC Final memories to get rid of Joe Root. Then came silky Southee around the wicket and IPL finalist Trent Boult to wreak havoc. Another England collapse. 5 runs & 8 wickets in 25 balls. From 59/0 to 92/2 to 100/7 and eventually 141 all out.
Kevin Pietersen has been ridiculed for his adamant proposal on “Franchising County Cricket.” Reduce the number of counties and things will be all good, right? Well, Matty Potts (Durham) has just come up from second division and seemed to fit right in, while Root/Bairstow (Yorkshire)-Foakes (Surrey) are first division players. Poor batting displays boil down to two reasons–a bowling era (pitches/quality of bowlers) and technical deficiencies of the batters.
Thought of the Day
Now let’s shift our focus back on Pujara-Rizwan. Why are they in England? To improve their batting skills, face different conditions, and prepare themselves when their countries play England, right?
Just like T20 specialists these days go around the world and play in the IPL, PSL, BBL, CPL, etc., why can’t England players hone their techniques in Sheffield Shield or Ranji Trophy in the off season? Ex-England chief executive, Tom Harrison, wrote to Australian board to allow English players after the Ashes loses.
So why don’t England players these days play in overseas domestic first-class tournaments?