BY AAKASH KUMAR
New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) India skipper Virat Kohli has been on song in the ongoing World Cup in England and Wales. With three fifties, Kohli has so far scored 244 runs in the four innings he has played. While he is currently 12th in the list of leading run-getters, Kohli will surely move upwards with India still to play as many as four games in the group stages alone.
Before the World Cup, Kohli was not at his usual best in the Indian Premier League. While he did score 328 runs in the 14 matches for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), it was not the kind of performance which one associates with India’s ‘run machine’.
However, in the World Cup, Kohli is looking a lot more comfortable, be it while facing the quicks or the spinners. If one does an analysis of his performance in the four innings he has played so far, one will find that the 30-year-old has concentrated on playing in the ‘V’ and has resisted from playing cross batted shots.
This approach can be seen as an attempt to tackle the swing on offer in English conditions to the pacers and also to adjust with the variable bounce which has been seen on many wickets on which India have played.
In India’s first match against South Africa, Kohli was not able to score much as he managed just 18 runs off the 34 balls he faced before he was caught brilliantly by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
However, against Australia, the number one ODI batsman looked to be in fine form and scored 82 off 77 balls. During the course of his innings, he scored 60 runs in the V (23 on off side and 37 on leg side). Shikhar Dhawan also scored a brilliant 117 as India defended their 353-run target with ease.
Against arch-rivals Pakistan, Kohli continued with his form and hit 77 runs off 65 balls. Out of the 77, 51 runs came in the ‘V’ (26 on off side and 25 on leg side). His knock, along with that off Rohit Sharma’s 140, helped India post 336/5. The Men in Blue won that match by 89 runs (D/L method) and maintained their World Cup dominance over Pakistan.
And in their fifth encounter against Afghanistan when most of the Indian batters struggled against the Afghan spinners on a sluggish Rose Bowl wicket, Kohli batted brilliantly and scored 67 runs off just 63 balls. In that game also, the Indian skipper preferred to play in the ‘V’ and collected 42 runs in that region (19 on off side and 23 on leg side).
His cover drive has been on full display in the ongoing World Cup and one can surely expect the Indian skipper to come out with those smashing flicks and straight drives against the likes of Sheldon Cottrell and Mark Wood in the remaining matches.
BY AAKASH KUMAR