Guwahati October 21: Indians will play their first T20 on November 21 in Brisbane.
As West Indies tour India, Virat Kohli is delivering a feast to his fans and fans of the Indian cricket team while butchering the record books and making them his own. The Indian captain came to the crease, took guard and punished the bowling attack with impunity all over the place to bring up his 36th ODI century and 60th over all. Why do we need to know all this? Cause Indians are coming down under later this month on a tour to play 3 T20s, 4 Test Matches and 3 ODIs. With the form that Kohli is exhibiting with his other batting partners, Aussies have theior work cut out for the summer. He is in scintillating form.
“Virat Kohli walks out to bat, Virat Kohli scores runs, and Virat Kohli breaks record. Well, this has been the template to his batting in the recent past. Such is the hunger to score runs and win matches for his side that Kohli has made it a regular habit to not only breach records but to sprint past them”, wrote Hindustan Times, an Indian daily.
The skipper’s form becomes even more special when you put it into its context. Indians are known to collapse and crumble under even the slightest pressure, perhaps no longer. The visitors had put in a very good performance with the bat and scored a respectable and defendable total of 322. That included a blazing century by Shimron Hetmyer.
Then India lost their blaster opener Shikhar Dhawan in the second over and Kohli had to come in to steady the ship and make the game competitive.
No he did not come in with that mindset. He came in to punish the Windies and win the game in his own style – butchering the bowling in the process.
It was a treat to watch. Kohli was at his best hitting the ball on the up to play his strokes. Effortlessly he went past 50, and then fully in control of his game and the match from thereon.
Both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma scored centuries and created history on the way.
On the fifth ball of the 27th over, Kohli hit a square drive and completed his 36th ODI century, his 60th International ton. He became the fastest player, leaving Sachin Tendulkar behind by miles, to reach this milestone. Kohli only took 386 innings to score 60th International ton while Sachin Tendulkar took 427 innings to reach the same milestone. Other behind them are Ricky Ponting with 489 innings, Jaques Kallis with 582 innings and Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara with 645 innings.
In all these glorious comparisons, Indian skipper is mindful of the Aussie attack led by Mitchell Starc. Although he looks stellar, and his side is ranked world’s No.1 Test side, they have suffered from inconsistent top order during their tours of South Africa and England, losing 1-2 and 1-4 respectively.
The skipper is seriously looking at that issue and the new find – Prithvi Shaw – who is a carbon copy of Sachin Tendulkar on the field – seems to be the answer they are considering. Earlier this month Kohli told media that India are looking to “cement” the team’s misfiring top order ahead of this summer’s showdown with Australia. They have thrown this challenge to the teenager opener Prithvi Shaw who is playing the visiting West Indies.
Some sceptics of Shaw believe although the 18-year-old is a fierce striker of the ball with almost all cricketing shots in his inventory but he lacks the pull shot against the fast bowlers. And on the bouncy tracks in Australia, the pull shot is one of the most important shots. They believe the Australian conditions accompanied by the lethal Australian bowlers are expected to trouble the teenager.
As Kohli is endeavouring and experimenting with Prithvi Shaw, if India can fix their top order before leaving for Australia, the strength shown by India’s batting line up, particularly Kohli’s form, will be a cause for concern to the Aussie bowlers in the summer down under!
– K. Dev, Agencies