Dubai: The debate over Virat Kohli’s place in the playing XI for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup in Australia has gained pace as the batting maestro is repeatedly failing to make an impact in the game.
Several former players, including ex-India captain Kapil Dev, feel the clock is ticking for Virat and he is running out of time.
Amid all the noise around Virat’s form, former India cricketer Pravin Amre said the ex-skipper should stay calm, control his nerves and focus on small targets to return to form. Amre, who has played 11 Tests and 37 One Day Internationals for India, however, feels Virat is just one good innings away from returning to form.
Spend more time on the wicket
“Virat needs to stay calm. He should not react much and control his nerves. He needs to spend more time on the wicket to score big runs. It’s just a matter of one good innings for Virat. For this, he needs to chase small target… Like focus on the initial 10 runs, then make the next 10 runs, and so on…” Pravin Amre told Indian TV channel.
“Remember that Virat is a chasing master. He needs to help himself and stay calm. When you stay calm, your shot selection will improve, and there will be less chance of you making a mistake. That’s why I feel Virat should chase small targets of 10 runs. That I think will help him a lot. No one has a doubt on his ability, but he needs to execute things properly by staying calm,” he said.
The availability of Kohli for the second One Day International (ODI) still remains doubtful after he missed the first match due to a groin strain.
The chatter ahead of the start of the series between England and India was all about thrilling cricket. But on Tuesday, at The Oval, India were dominating in their 10-wicket thrashing of England, with Jasprit Bumrah scything through the top-order and ended with 6-19, his best-ever show in ODIs.
With confidence high after a comprehensive show at The Oval, India will be targeting to seal the series quickly in the second ODI at Lord’s on Thursday, just like what they did in the preceding T20I series, which they eventually won 2-1.
For India, apart from Bumrah being at his menacing best in terms of skill and control on a greenish pitch offering seam, swing and extra bounce, Mohammed Shami and Prasidh Krishna provided him with ample support to bowl out England for just 110, after being 26-5 at one point.
With the bat, Rohit Sharma was at his glorious best, using his pulls and hooks to precision against the short-ball strategy from the England bowlers to remain unbeaten on 78, it allowed Shikhar Dhawan, his long-standing opening partner and playing his first ODI since February this year, to settle in and find his groove, which he did by hitting the winning boundary.
On the other hand, England welcoming Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow into the ODI set-up under Jos Buttler’s first match as the skipper in this format did not go as they would have liked and now face an uphill task of keeping the series alive on the third anniversary of their dramatic 2019 World Cup triumph at the very same venue.
Lord's unique challenge
While Stokes, Root, Liam Livingstone and Jason Roy fell for ducks, Bairstow could crawl his way to single digit. Buttler, though, hanged around to top-score with 30, being one of four batters alongside Moeen Ali, David Willey and Brydon Carse to reach double figures for England. With the ball, England were simply ineffective as they couldn’t separate Sharma and Dhawan pairing.
Lord’s as a venue provides the challenge for the bowlers to adapt quickly to the natural slope, which runs diagonally across the pitch. For India, the opportunity is to adapt to conditions quickly and do an encore of performance at The Oval. For England, it is a chance to push the series into a decider at Manchester by sealing a win at Lord’s, which sounds a little tough after the shellacking received in the first game.
England: Jos Buttler (Captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Brydon Carse, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Reece Topley and David Willey
India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh.