Indian Captain Virat Kohli sacrificed his No 3 spot for talented Karnataka batsman KL Rahul and the skipper won a lot of hearts by doing so.
In the first T20 against Ireand, Virat Kohli sent KL Rahul to open the innings for India. Rahul slammed a breezy half century to take India to a 200 + total. In the first T20I against England as well, KL Rahul was promoted up the order. However, this time Virat Kohli sacrificed his own spot to accommodate Rahul.
Virat- India’s dependable No 3
While Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have been opening the inning for India for a long time and have performed exceedingly well, Virat Kohli has been the mainstay of the batting order. Kohli comes out to bat at number 3 and guides the Indian innings. Not only this, it has been several times that Kohli has even taken India to victory, finishing the game for the team.
He has an ODI average approaching 60 and is one of the greatest limited over batsmen in the world. Despite all of that, Virat Kohli sacrificed his spot to include KL Rahul. This has increased tremendous amount of respect for him.
KL Rahul’s rise in stature
KL Rahul sprang up to the International circuit a couple of years back with centuries in both ODI and T20 cricket. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was a very talented bloke and someone who had a bright future ahead of himself. However he had to work on two things – one was temperament and the other was his fitness.
While Rahul improved his temperament by leaps and bounds in a short amount of time and learnt the art of spending long periods at the crease, his fitness was always an issue. He has been in and out of the Indian team in all the three formats due to various injuries that have occurred to him time and again. However, Rahul his now back to 100% fitness and his talent remains with him.
Scoring runs is one thing but scoring them in the manner in which KL Rahul is scoring those runs these days is something extraordinary. KL Rahul is certainly in a league of his own as far as the T20 matches are concerned.
He is scoring consistently and in his own style without playing a single rash shot. Rahul has been able to maintain his strike rate and impress the entire cricketing fraternity.
KL Rahul had a prolific IPL and staked claim for selection in the Indian team. The way he batted against England, he only promises to become a regular feature of the side and has a very promising future ahead of himself.
Kohli following Ganguly’s footsteps
However this is not the first time that an Indian captain has sacrificed his spot to accommodate someone else in the team. During the time when Sourav Ganguly was Captain of India, Virender Sehwag came to the scene and started hogging all the limelight. He was an explosive batsman and had the capacity of taking the game away from the opposition in a very short period of time.
Taking this into consideration, Ganguly dropped himself at one down and allowed Virender Sehwag to open the batting along with Sachin Tendulkar. As it turned out, it was a masterstroke as Sachin and Sehwag went on to make several partnerships in excess of hundred in what was a golden period in Indian cricket.
The way Kohli has acted on the footsteps of Ganguly and tried to accommodate a talented player like KL Rahul, it will certainly go a long way in strengthening the team culture. It will also give the message far and wide that nation is always bigger than any individual.
We can’t afford a talented batsman like KL Rahul to be sitting out and that too when he is in red-hot form. He has to be accommodated somehow in the squad. That being said, Kohli forsaking his No 3 spot at which he has been so successful over the years, is a bit odd.
The ideal scenario can be to open with Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahu at the top. Virat Kohli then must come at three. Because simply put, he is the best batsman in the Indian ODI team and hence he ought to face maximum deliveries.
Rohit Sharma can then follow at No 4. This will lead to a formidable Indian top 4 and inevitably, one of these four will fire in every match.