Should Virat Kohli be India's regular opener in T20Is?
Virat Kohli after his hundred against AFG [PC: Twitter]
In a remarkable turn of events, legendary Indian batter Virat Kohli put an end to his century drought yesterday, slamming a magnificent 122* against a strong Afghanistan bowling unit. Opening the batting, Kohli took all Afghan bowlers to the cleaners and amazed the spectators during his 61-ball stay. Moreover, the way he paced his innings was so impressive that fans and experts have called for using him at the top on a permanent basis.
As it stands, Rohit Sharma will eventually be back to the top, and Kohli will likely be demoted to number three. However, we feel that slotting Kohli at the top can be a boon for India in the T20Is going forward.
Kohli's credentials as an opener
Virat Kohli has exhibited his flexibility for India over the years. Apart from being an excellent fit at number three, Kohli has served the opener's job with distinction, amassing 400 runs at an average of 57.14 and a mind-blowing strike rate of 161.29. It's a position that suits him the most, as he takes his time to get his eyes in and mauls every type of bowling afterwards. More importantly, his solidity against movement can avoid a top-order collapse, which India have suffered repeatedly in recent times.
How Kohli, the opener, can solve multiple problems for India ?
Suryakumar Yadav can bat at number three
Suryakumar Yadav in action [PC: Twitter]
If Kohli opens with KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav can bat at his preferred position, number three, in T20Is. Suryakumar has been a mainstay for the Mumbai Indians, making the number three position his own. It will also allow him to face spinners more in the middle overs, whom he loves batting against in the shortest format.
Rohit Sharma can be used as a finisher down the order
Rohit Sharma in action [PC: Twitter]
If you remember, Rohit Sharma has played many impactful knocks as a middle-order batter for the Mumbai Indians in IPL in the past. Before being a regular opener, Rohit shone brightly for his franchise in number four and five, amassing 2955 runs. His demotion would ensure India a veteran batter to finish things off down the order. More importantly, he is still the best pace-hitter in the country and won't have to face the moving ball.
All these things will work only if KL Rahul plays with some intent in the power-play. If it happens, Kohli can take his time to anchor the innings properly. And if everything falls in place, players like Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja can bat around Rohit Sharma to ensure a fitting finish for India.
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