Monday, January 09, 2012

Play Kohli

Photo courtesy: Royal Challengers Bangalore
I remember a brash shot Virat Kohli played early in his ODI career against Pakistan. He was batting at number 4 with Rahul Dravid holding anchor at the other end. India needed slightly more than 6 runs per over with around 30 overs to go. Kohli hadn't spent too much time at the crease but went for a lofted shot anyway, only to find the long on fielder. It was an unnecessary shot at that stage but one that could be attributed to his inexperience and inability to gauge the right way to play the middle overs of a chase. Over time and with the confidence that constancy in a batting line-up can provide, #3 when Sachin or Sehwag were rested and #4 otherwise, he's become a player you can count on. He looks for the singles early on and a large percentage of his boundaries flow along the carpet. He's got the hang of pacing an ODI innings.

In the past two years, he's scored runs with consistency and class. He's contributed to a world cup victory, his place is assured in the ODI setup, he's confident of his abilities and in the limited amount of first class cricket that he's played runs have come at an average of almost 50.

There is no doubt in my mind that he is a test cricketer in the making. Sure, he failed in the away series against the West Indies and he's struggling right now in Australia. But we absolutely have to play him in the remaining two test matches. Even if he fails to put bat to ball, we have to play him. Slot him above Laxman in the batting order so that he has the cushion of wickets in hand. It'll allow him to spend more time in the middle with Sachin who is in beautiful touch. He will have the luxury of playing out deliveries because Sachin and Laxman will score freely. By the time he has to bat with Dhoni, Ashwin and the tail he would have seen off the early nervousness.

Kohli can potentially be the glue that holds the top and middle order together. He's repaid the Indian cricket team's faith in him in ODI cricket. The team now has to be prepared to let him fall a few times in test cricket before he finds his footing.

1 comment:

amas said...

Excellent analysis! Hope the BCCI, the captain and the coach read your blog or get your point some how. Missed reading your posts. Hope you start writing here more often.
amas