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Virat Kohli bowls in warm-up match against Australia, is it mentor MS Dhoni's idea!

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni

Dubai, October 20: Virat Kohli sprang a major surprise on Wednesday (October 20] when he came to bowl against Australia in a warm-up match at the at ICC Academy Ground in Dubai.

Kohli was expected to be rested for the match as Rohit Sharma led India against Australia. But he came to bowl in the 7th over of the Australia innings and gave away just 4 runs, a commendable effort from someone who has not bowled in recent memory.

It became all the more creditable because the Aussies had big hitter Glenn Maxwell and classy Steve Smith at the crease. It might just gave one a faint feeling that Kohli might use himself as a relief bowler in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, perhaps an over or two take the pressure out of the main bowlers.

Many was eager to attribute the move to MS Dhoni, now the mentor of India in the mega event.

However, earlier Kohli was not even expected to take field after Australia won the toss and opted to bat first against India in the warm-up match.

Speaking at the toss, Australia skipper Aaron Finch said, "We will bat first. We had batted second in the last game, so looking to change things up a bit. It's going very well at the moment. Josh Hazlewood is the only one who'll not take the field today. Mitchell Swepson and Josh Inglis aren't playing as well."

On the other hand, India stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma said, "Virat Kohli, Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are resting today. We wanted to bat first as well, just wanted to try and get runs on the board. We want to make sure that we get the 6th bowling option, some options in the batting order as well, we'll try all those things today.

"Hardik is coming along pretty well, but it'll be a while before he will start to bowl. He hasn't started bowling, but he should be ready by the start of the tournament. We have quality in the main bowlers, but you need an option for a sixth bowler," he added.

On Monday, India defeated England by seven wickets in their first warm-up match. Chasing 189, India got off to an excellent start as opening batters KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan played crucial knocks of 70 and 51 runs, respectively.

After this match, India will next play Pakistan in their opening game of the ICC T20 World Cup on October 24 while on the other hand, England will be facing West Indies on October 23.

In Group 2, India will then face New Zealand and Afghanistan, the emerging force in T20 cricket, plus the winners of Group B and runners-up from Group A.

India squad: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli (c), Rishabh Pant (w), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, and Varun Chakravarthy.

Australia squad: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Josh Inglis, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Swepson, Glenn Maxwell, and Pat Cummins.

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Story first published: Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 16:35 [IST]
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