3rd T20I: Virat Kohli and Co look for honours against England
MS Dhoni and Jasprit Bumrah during a practice session ahead of the third T20 International against England in Bangalore yesterday. Pic/PTI
Bangalore: The last time Virat Kohli played at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was in the final of the IPL. As batsman he made 54 to take his season's tally to a phenomenal 973 but as captain of RCB he failed to win a maiden title.
This time around it's the series decider against England and he's the captain of India, in all formats to boot, and he would, for sure, take a personal failure anytime while making every attempt to take the trophy. The Bangalore crowd though will be rooting for their current favourite batsman to come good and also lead his country to a series victory.
Yuvraj Singh bats in the nets ahead of India’s third T20 International against England in Bangalore yesterday. Pic/AP
Kohli, the aggressor
There is one distinct difference between his roles as opener for his franchise and country. While for RCB, someone like Chris Gayle was the early enforcer with Kohli could bid his time and bat through. In the two T20s thus far, it's the skipper who has taken on the aggressor role.
Not with much success though and it is something that Kohli and the Indian management need to address when they take the field at the lush-green Chinnaswamy Stadium ground here this evening. It is Kohli's second home - so much so he skipped the nets session on Tuesday evening - and coach Anil Kumble's first home but it will be fair to say that the former hasn't quite looked at home opening the innings for India. For it is not in Kolhi to play like anyone else but himself. Batting for him is an art form and brutality doesn't come naturally. In any case he's got all the strokes and more to play normally and yet make it count, like he has done all season in all formats and be it for country or club.
Give Pant a chance
Perhaps KL Rahul's success in the Nagpur game will help here. As Kohli has stated clearly, opening the innings in the T20 game is not new to him - only the over aggression is - and Rahul's return to form may just allow Kohli to go back to his build first and destroy later game. It has to be either that or the skipper has to drop himself down to number three, give Rishab Pant a go at the top and move Suresh Raina down to Manish Pandey's place at five. Either way a change is required, be it in batting role or order.