Cricket / virat kohli
India's middle order needs to start winning matches
In limited overs cricket, India has been dominating for a long time now. They are numero uno in the test rankings, and are ranked number two in both ODIs and t20s. As far as limited overs cricket is concerned, the main contributing factors have been India's top order in batting, Bumrah and the wrist spinners in the bowling department. There is a trend we have been seeing in the last 2-3 years, our batting is over dependent on the top 3. Rohit, Shikhar, and Virat have been phenomenal and there is no doubt to the fact that they have carried the team's batting on their shoulders. Virat averaged a freakish 133 in the year 2018, and Rohit and Shikhar were around 73 and 50 respectively. While that is a great sight from India's perspective, it also signified the incompetency of the middle order. One of the problems with middle order is that they have been playing musical chair with the number 4 and number 6 spot, with Dhoni slotted in between them. They started the year with Ajinkya Rahane in South Africa at number 4, and over the year, tried various players like Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Kartik, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Rishab Pant, although it seems like they had found an ideal candidate in Ambati Rayudu by the end of Windies series. Even at number 6, with injuries to Kedar Jhadav, India did try some of the players mentioned above. So, in a situation where the top order fails, they are left wanting. Something like that happened in the first ODI against Australia, where Shikhar, Virat and Rayudu were back to the pavilion in no time, and Rohit Sharma nearly carried India through. The batsmen in line for the middle order spots are Rayudu, Kartik, Dhoni, Pant, and Jhadav. Most of them have decent finishing abilities and they need to revolve around Dhoni to not only make meagre contributions, but win matches on their own if the top order gets blown off. Rayudu and Jhadav seem to be the men who might eventually make the two vacant spots their own once India set their feet in England. As far as Dhoni is concerned, he desperately needs to deliver as Rishab Pant is breathing down his neck big time after his exploits in the test series Down Under. He needs to improve his strike rate considerably as the pitches in England are likely to be high scoring. We, as fans want Dhoni to get his finishing abilities back on track as we want him to hit the World Cup winning six, for one final time.
Virat Kohli’s consistency is what makes him stand apart
As he goes about shattering records in world cricket, people feel he is just in “the form of his life”. But only a few know that there is hardly any period when he is out of form. If you take away the 2014 series in England, then I am sure you will have a hard time remembering his lean patch since his debut more than 10 years ago. The longevity of a player in any sport is directly proportional to the consistency he/she shows. The longer you perform, longer you stay in the team. No rocket science behind this fact. Virat has shown growth beyond anyone’s expectations. Yuvraj Singh once said, “What we learnt in 10 years of playing cricket, Virat learnt it in 3 years”. That was quite a compliment given the fact it was from one of the best limited overs cricketers. When Rohit Sharma goes about making double hundreds for fun, one does not stop calling him a better batsman than the Indian skipper. To be honest, on that given day when Rohit is on song, he is better, but given the fact that Kohli does it on a regular basis makes the opinions go one sided. It is the consistency that Rohit lacks and Virat more than makes up for that. Not to mention the hard yards that he puts, the high fitness regime that he follows have played very important roles in his success. Having an average in excess of 50 over all three formats for a longer duration is no ordinary achievement. He is just over 30 and looks likely to leapfrog Tendulkar in terms of his long standing record of 49 centuries in one day cricket. The master of chases is already being touted as the “greatest one day player ever” with people like Vivian Richards supporting the statement just mentioned. Well, he does keep justifying the statement himself, doesn’t he ? Let’s just hope that he keeps doing what he is doing now for as long as he can and take Indian cricket to an even further level.