India vs South Africa: What is it that makes cricket so fascinating? Is it the number of runs you score or the wickets you take? Or, is it the unpredictable nature of the game? The answer? It is a combination of all three and there won’t be a better person to tell you that at this moment than Virat Kohli. In the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy, the Indian cricket team has seen it all. They scored 300 plus runs in both the matches, registered 6 half-centuries and a ton, bowled out the opposition in the first match, were affected by rain, surprised by the Lankan batsmen and now, they are staring at the prospect of an early exit. Unless of course, they win their last group match against South Africa to qualify for the semi-finals. However, the way the last match went, the fans will be disappointed as it won’t happen unless a few changes are made, both in personnel as well as in approach. So, here are 5 things Virat Kohli needs to get right to beat Proteas:
1. Bring back Ravichandran Ashwin
With 145 wickets to his name from 105 ODIs, Ravichandran Ashwin is not just India’s most experienced bowler but also, the leader of the unit. It won’t be an overstatement to say that Ashwin is to Indian bowling what Virat Kohli is to batting and the skipper needs to find a way to include him in the playing XI. His utility in the middle-overs is unmatched and even in England’s overcast conditions, Ashwin could prove to be a big match-winner for India.
2. Get Mohammed Shami in the playing XI
Ashwin’s exclusion hasn’t been the only surprising decision taken by the team management in this tournament so far. Mohammed Shami, who is probably India’s best fast bowler across all formats, has also been forced to warm the bench. His pace and swing would surely trouble the batsmen if played.
3. Hold on to catches
There is no doubt that India’s fielding has come a long way in last one decade. With the presence of Ravindra Jadeja, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and a few others, India can match the skills of any side. However, there are still a few weak links. Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been guilty of dropping some catches in this tournament so far while Yuvraj Singh isn’t the fittest of players anymore either.
4. Improve scoring-rate in middle overs
After losing the match against Sri Lanka, Kohli said a few more runs would have made the difference and these extra runs need to be scored in the middle-order. In the first match Rohit Sharma and in the second one, Shikhar Dhawan slowed down in the middle-overs which resulted in 15-20 fewer runs.
5. Pick wickets with new ball
In both the matches, India’s fast bowlers picked up just one wicket each in the first ten overs. To do that in England’s seam-friendly conditions is not less than a crime. Bringing Shami into the playing XI might help in solving this issue.