5 surprising decisions Virat Kohli may take in the T20 World Cup 2021

Kohli, known for his bold decisions, will have an eye on each probable player who has a chance of representing India in this T20 World Cup.

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Virat Kohli against England

Virat Kohli against England. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images)

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Undoubtedly the best batsman of the generation and the most popular cricketer ever, Virat Kohli would desperately be looking to end his drought of ICC trophies as the Indian captain. Kohli had taken over the white-ball captaincy in early 2017 after MS Dhoni decided to step down as the limited-overs captain. From that time, India has managed to sail through the group stage but often finished a step or two away from glory.

In the Kohli era, India has been knocked out of the semi-finals of ICC World Cup 2019 and ended up as runners-up twice in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and ICC World Test Championship. A decent enough record but not up to the standards of Kohli. This T20 WC in the UAE is a great opportunity to win his first ICC title ever as captain as the Indian players will be playing the 2nd phase of the IPL in the UAE just before the T20 WC. A blessing in disguise indeed.

Kohli, known for his bold decisions and often criticized for his team selection, will have an eye on each probable player who has a chance of representing India in this T20 WC. So don’t be surprised if the Indian captain takes some unexpected and surprising decisions for the benefit of the team and to bamboozle the opposition.

Here are 5 such decisions which are quite possible:

5. Three spinners in the playing XI

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Almost a month of IPL will be played in the UAE before the WC. As a result, there is a decent chance of the pitches to likely wear off a bit which will assist spinners. Most players of teams like New Zealand, England and South Africa are not great players of spin, thereby increasing chances of getting wickets or choking the opposition, especially in the middle overs.

India has the best spin bowling attack by far. With the variety of Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy, Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sundar in their armoury, playing three spinners won’t be a headache for the Indians. Another advantage is that out of the lot, Chakravarthy and Sundar can bowl with the new ball as well. To make things better, Jadeja and Sundar are all-rounders. All these factors allow Kohli the bowling flexibility which will be required at certain stages of the WC.

4. Kohli-Rohit as openers

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Two of the best white-ball batsmen opening the innings is a sight no opponent wants to see and the dream of every Indian cricket team fan. What more would the Indian fans cherish than the captain and vice-captain leading from the front and decimating the opposition bowlers with their class and power-hitting abilities.

Kohli and Rohit have opened only once in the decider match of the India England T20 series held in the month of March this year. The duo scored 94 runs off nine overs with Rohit playing the lead role scoring 64 runs off 34 balls at a strike rate of 188.24. Post Rohit’s dismissal, Kohli shifted gears and accelerated in the death overs and ended up scoring 80* runs off 52 balls at a strike rate of 153.85. India ended up scoring a mammoth total of 224 and won the match as well as the series by 3-2.

This style of play allows Rohit to play his natural attacking game right from ball one and gives Kohli those 10-12 balls which he needs to settle in the middle. It also allows the others like Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan to express themselves freely as one of the titans is well set and out there to guide the youngsters and set up a huge total.

3. Deepak Chahar over Hardik Pandya

Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

With the abundance of talent Hardik Pandya has, he wouldn’t be very pleased with his T20I career and extremely disappointed post the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka. He has played 49 T20Is and scored 484 runs at an average below 20 and a strike rate of 145.34 and also has 42 wickets to his tally.

His place in the limited-overs Indian team is much safer as compared to his counterparts. This is majorly because Hardik’s replacements aren’t of the same caliber as him. But Deepak Chahar is a name that has been in the mix and has consistently given good performances with the ball and a recent 69* to seal the series versus Sri Lanka goes to show his zeal to become a proper all-rounder.

A bowler who can create havoc with the new ball as he can swing it both ways, Chahar is surely in the minds of the selectors for the T20 WC. If Hardik doesn’t pull up his socks and remains out of form in the 2nd phase of the IPL as well, don’t be surprised if Deepak Chahar is given a chance to prove his capabilities at the toughest event of T20 cricket.

2. Backing an in-form Mohammed Siraj

Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

From dismissing Virat Kohli in the nets as a net bowler in Hyderabad to playing with him at RCB and India, it has been a rollercoaster journey for Mohammed Siraj. He has publicly claimed that Kohli is the main reason for his success and that he couldn’t have a better mentor, captain and inspiration than him.

A knight in shining armour for India in the Border-Gavaskar Series 2020-21, he picked up 13 wickets in three matches and spearheaded India’s inexperienced bowling attack to a historic series victory. This shows the immense heart and character the 27-year-old has, which is all that Kohli wants his player to have.

With Kohli using him as his front-line bowler at RCB nowadays, giving him the new ball and even at the death, Siraj understands the faith the Indian captain has in him and has started to deliver. With him clocking speeds of more than 140 km/h regularly, if he delivers for India in the Test series versus England and for RCB in the 2nd phase of this year’s IPL, Siraj could well be seen wearing the national colors in the T20 WC.

1. Rohit Sharma at Number 4

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images)

Surprised? Angry? Many emotions experienced together after reading the headline? Let me explain. As much as we know that Rohit Sharma has been India’s best white ball player for two years and is a match-winner, he has had much success at number 4 in the T20s, especially in the IPL for Mumbai Indians.

After opening for MI, he has played 48 matches and scored 1273 runs at an average just above 28 and a strike rate below 130. These are not the kind of numbers you would associate with Rohit Sharma. He has scored more than 400 runs in a single IPL season only once since he has opened. However, his international record is one of the best in the world as he has played 111 matches and scored 2864 runs at an average of 32.18 and a strike rate of just below 140.

Imagine a middle order having Kohli, Rohit and Pant, probably the best in the world. However, this will only happen if KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan play the 2nd phase of this year’s IPL the way they have been playing IPL for the last two years. They have been consistently scoring more than 500 runs at a great strike rate year by year in each IPL.

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