After a lot of speculation, Virat Kohli did come out to open the innings for India in the first T20 match against England at Kanpur. The idea could have been simple, allow your best batmsan to play maximum of the 120 deliveries so that he could guide you to a strong total.
However, after the match Kohli had a different point of view. He said that, ” My opening gives more balance to the team. You can have an extra batsman in the middle order. A player like Suresh Raina gets more dangerous at three.”
So, it was clear that Kohli promoted himself up the order so that Raina could bat at his preferred number 3 spot despite being out of the team for almost 10 months. Number 3 is the most important slot in cricket irrespective of the format and it is believed that your best batsman should play there.
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The advantage with Kohli is that once he gets himself in, he goes on to big a big total. On the other hand, Suresh Raina got out for 34 runs at a crucial time despite getting a good start, leaving his team in a tricky situation.
Over the years, India has been guilty of giving preference to individuals over the team. There was a time when they drafted as many as four openers in the playing XI in Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa. Even Dinesh Karthik who is a wicketkeeper was played as a specialist batsman in the past.
Unfortunately, that’s the difference between good and great sides. When Australia dominated world cricket in the late 90s and early 2000s, they always gave preference to team. This was the reason why a prolific run-scorer like Brad Hodge played just 6 Tests and 25 ODIs despite scoring over 17,000 first class runs. Since he was a number 3 batsman, he only got a chance Ricky ponting was injured or missed the game due to some other reasons.
Sadly, it looks like Virat Kohli hasn’t learnt from his mistakes. “When Rohit is not around as an opener, I can anytime step up because it provides more balance,” he added.