Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had faced Pakistan for the first time in their careers during an ICC event. Saturday’s game could be their last against the same opponent in an ICC event
AHMEDABAD: Snipers wielding automatic guns give you that cold, deathly stare as you pass by a famous five-star hotel in Ahmedabad by the river front. It’s where the Pakistan team are residing for their highly anticipated World Cup clash against India on Saturday.
It’s a team that two of India’s and the world’s greatest modern white-ball players, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli first played against in a senior men’s global event, in South Africa. Rohit in the 2007 T20 World Cup and Kohli in the 2009 Champions Trophy.

Will Virat Kohli fire on all cylinders in 2023 World Cup?

While Rohit’s beginning was more auspicious, starring in a T20 World Cup winning campaign, hitting the last ball for a six in the final in India’s innings (how crucial was it as they won by five runs) while scoring 30 not out off 16 balls at Johannesburg, Kohli’s was more soul breaking.
While chasing a gettable 303 on a road in Centurion, with India well placed at 126 for 2 in 22 overs, he lofted Shahid Afridi to Umar Gul at long off and was dismissed for 16. It triggered an Indian collapse as the team lost by 54 runs.
Kohli used that as a lesson in hunting down scores and became one of the most efficient chasers in white-ball cricket. Against Pakistan, he averages 154.5 in three World Cup contests, with a sublime 107 at Adelaide in 2015 being his crowning glory. In the Champions Trophy, he averages 62 in four games. In T20 World Cups, he has been a nuisance for the Men In Green, scoring 308 runs in five games at an average of 308.

India captain Rohit Sharma, a colossus in white-ball cricket

Rohit has had mixed results. After a heartbreaking loss in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup final in Colombo to Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan Under-19, where the young team could not handle Anwar Ali’s hooping inswingers, the Indian skipper’s 140 in Manchester in the 2019 edition set up India’s march towards a 7-0 win-loss margin in 50-over World Cups. His Champions Trophy average is less impressive, making just one 91 in three games, which includes a famous duck in the 2017 final vs Mohd Amir.
His returns in the T20 World Cup aren’t great either, as his average of 17 in six games suggests.
But as his numbers over the last year show, Rohit has been keener to take risks in the powerplay, to allow batters like Kohli to bat at their pace, in a format that the India No.3 almost owns. It’s an acknowledgement by the skipper himself that the modern white ball game has no scope for accumulators. It’s the England template after all.
Conversely, the renewed solidity of Kohli 2.0, post the pandemic-induced slump, and post the mental health break, has allowed Rohit to be more adventurous.

There were unconfirmed reports of a rift between the two amidst a power struggle over white-ball captaincy. While they may or may not be true, it does appear now that the two elder statesmen have forged new bonds as was witnessed in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.
Rohit kept going to Virat for suggestions over field placing and bowling changes, often allowing his former captain to make the moves.
Kohli’s sweaty and passionate hug to his skipper when Rohit sharply pouched Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka off Ravindra Jadeja in a low scoring thriller on a turner in Colombo in the Asia Cup Super-Four clash also said a lot. The devil of indifference that one occasionally saw in him after unceremoniously being axed as ODI skipper had suddenly been anaesthetized.

The swearing, roaring champion was back.
As Pakistan await at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday, India will need Kohli’s roar and runs and Rohit’s adventure one more time. Both were castled by Shaheen Shah Afridi in Pallekele in the league stage of the Asia Cup. In the Super Four clash of the same event at the Premadasa, India hit back, Rohit and Gill and then Kohli and KL Rahul, aggressively tackled the talented left-arm seamer.
Round Three, Ahmedabad promises a lot. Whatever happens should be cherished. Rohit is 36, Kohli will be 35 next month and it is very likely that the two Indian superstars may not square up against the Green Shirts in an ICC event again.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *