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Virat Kohli in Asia Cup 2022 Squad: India's new gung-ho approach can help 'King Kohli' return to his best

Virat Kohli

Bengaluru, August 9: If you would run a Google search for the most discussed topic in India, Virat Kohli’s batting form or the lack of it will certainly be listed in the top 3.

Given the fact that Kohli’s last International hundred came in 2019 December against Bangladesh, the debate was bound to take place, and this is the year of T20 World Cup as well.

Questions have been hovering over even his eligibility to be in the India squad for the big event in Australia, scheduled across October and November.

The talks have reached a heated level too because the Indian team under Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid has adopted a modified approach in T20s after the exit from last year’s T20 World Cup.

Along with Rohit, who dashes off the block, the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik etc have given a new dimension to India’s batting in T20s.

They have scored at more than 9 runs an over in all the T20Is that they have played in 2022 and only New Zealand have scored at a faster clip than India. They are certain to follow this approach in the upcoming Asia Cup 2022 as well.

So can Kohli be a real fit in this changed environment once he comes out to bat in the Asia Cup? On his current form, it may look a bit of a stretch. In 2022, Kohli has played 4 T20Is, scoring 81 runs at 20.25 and 52 of those runs came in one innings.

But in another way the newfound attitude of the team can help Kohli to return to his best. India under Rohit have shifted focus to getting the maximum total for the team, rather than pursuing individual scores and then settle for a middling total.

If the team can reach a total of 220 then why would they restrict themselves to 180 or 190, giving the opposition a sniff at victory? It is important even for bowlers to have that cushion of extra runs.

Here, the team might just not be eager to see Kohli scoring a hundred but a quick 40 or 50 would assist them to reach their larger goal. Of course, a big one from Kohli is always a welcome addition as few batsmen can impose themselves on the opposition like the former Indian captain.

When Dravid became the coach, we met and we sat together in a room for a while and we discussed how we want to take this team forward.

“He was pretty much on the same thought process of what I was thinking. So, that made it a little easier for me to give out the clear messages to the boys because we don't want to create any confusion amongst the group.

“That is something we spoke about and of course we wanted to change our style of cricket as well. We wanted to play in a certain way in all three formats and he was ready to accept all of that.

So far, it has been really, really good. I'm looking forward to achieving something really, really great under his coaching,” Rohit had told Star Sports recently.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma

So, this new philosophy could allow Kohli to concentrate on his batting as Rohit and Suryakumar are accelerating, Hardik and Rishabh are holding the middle-order while Karthik can apply the finishing touches, while setting or chasing a target.

Kohli can bat freely without too many tasks countering his path, as here the goal is pretty simple — an above-par total for the team.

In that context, the Asia Cup 2022 is a brilliant opportunity for Kohli to get some runs and confidence going ahead of the World Cup. Can he deliver?

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Story first published: Tuesday, August 9, 2022, 10:01 [IST]
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