March 13, 2011

Dhoni, what have you got against Kohli?

India could have won this match with 20 runs less. But not in the mood today, after the wins, a tie, how about a defeat, and for the Windies’ game, a washout for variety?

India is in a weirdly superior zone, and it has nothing to do with the batting or bowling choices they make. It is how they think, there’s a bit of cool to them. I think they know it, at least most of the players do, they exude that cool. It makes you win close matches, and not feel too shitty about losing tight ones.

That’s not such a bad thing really. What I don’t get, and haven’t for a while, why this crusade against Kohli – why are we working so hard at belittling the best thing that’s happened to us, all of last year, in runs, form, class, attitude, delivery? Why do we continue to tamper with Kohli – why the fuck are we constantly reminded that he cannot score or accelerate as Raina? That he does not bowl, Raina brings the bowling option.

Rewind damn it, why was Raina dropped from the one-day team? Runs, right? How much did he bowl? I like Raina as a player, his attitude, all that, but Kohli elbowed him out fair and square. And let’s not even talk Nohit Sharma, he doesn’t figure in this world cup, ok?

So, you got Kohli at 4, scores a 100 (83), 1st match, vs Bangladesh. In that same game, Yusuf batted at 5, came in the 48th, 8(10).

What do you do after that, hurl him around like some deadweight that can’t bat, not at Yusuf’s pace, or like Yuvi or even MSD.

Next game vs. England, you bat Kohli at 7, after the Maters of the Universe. He comes in the 46th, 8(5) exits in the 48th. Yusuf 14(6).

Next game vs. Ireland, tricky chase, it’s 24/2, Kohli in at 4 again, 34(53). Same game, MSD at 6, 34(50). And then Yusuf banged them, 30(23), while waiting on Yuvi’s 50.

And today, Kohli at 6, 1(3) in the 43rd over, after Pathan 0(2), Yuvraj 12(9) and Dhoni 12(21).

Where will Kohli bat against the Windies, will he even play?

It may not matter, by now, whoever makes these calls may have screwed enough with Kohli’s batting. Then again, this is Virat Kohli, and he’s a lot tougher than you think.


Shridhar Jaju said...

NC, from a person who was not very fond of Virat Kohli about 20 months back, I have to admit now that he is being dealt with very unfairly!

I really do hope that he is not dropped against the West Indies, and scores big to REASCERTAIN that he belongs in top-4!

Vidooshak said...

NC - Amen

-geebs- said...

I think the treatment of Kohli comes from the very fact that he can't (supposedly) accelerate like Rainas or Pathans. In the match against SA, it was a pinch-hitter that was the need of the hour. Then when these super-duper hitters failed to really hit, Kohli had to walk in and then fail cos there weren't enough overs to play with. Now, whether sending Kohli at 4 or 5 just after losing Sachin, to maintain the acceleration or let him play in, that's a call Captain has to take. Unfortunately it bombed. Had it not, it would've been a good story to listen to.

Bhaskar Khaund said...

NC - i am/was a naysayer too but shall defer to your much-better knowledge.guess u r right - he is mentally tough n has bn performing too...but somehow the gambhir-kohli-yusuf combo just seems iffy to me , dunno why , cant put a finger to it. Assuming the Yuvi is a given , its down to deciding bwtn these combos i think :

1. GG+VK+YP (current combo)
2. (GG or VK) + YP + SRaina
3. GG + VK + SR

i'm inclined to give #2 a shot for the WI game - or next option #3 - if only to keep YP on his toes.. ? maybe its cos i missed his NZL century n saw only part of the SAF century but lord ,he just seems to me like another Afridi : i.e.,9 / 10 times, strike a couple of big blows and depart pronto (and minus Afridi's bowling prowess needless to say !)

what say ? or is the Yuvi assumption wrong , btw ?)

Bhaskar Khaund said...

Basically the flip side of playing both gambhir and kohli comes in yesterdays kind of situation when the first three bat on for 35-40 overs.Guess it creates plenty confusion.From MSD's POV u cud at least understand the logic behind ysterday's move if not agree with it : obviously he expected YP , yuvi and himself to take it upto 50th over n conversely not have Kohli lower the momentum at no. 4. i bet lots of pple were thinking similarly at that time (6-7 RPO , 8-9 wckts in hand) . Obvsly it flopped badly BUT if it had come off , am sure very few wudda bn asking why kohli's order was tampered with... - on hindsight , he shud have come in at 4 and steadied things but ONLY on hindsight :)

Govind Raj said...

Dhoni has screwed both Virat and Yusuf. Perhaps to bring in his favorite Raina.

I have nothing against Raina. But Virat and Yusuf have done well of late. Yusuf was instrumental in 2 of the recent wins. One against NZ and one against SA. He also scored a big one in a lost cause.

Kohli should not be tampered in his order. It would be better for India to drop Gambhir down the order and send Virat at 3.

Yusuf should not be sent ahead of Yuvi and Dhoni. If we look at his knocks, he has played with some maturity and responsibility whenever he has batted with only the tail behind him. He falters whenever he bats higher perhaps because he gets overconfident that there is a BIG middle order behind him.

Yusuf has suffered worse than Virat if we consider he was often sent to bat behind His Highness Ravindra Jadeja. He has earned his place in the team the same way Virat has and if at all, he has bowled quite tight even though he isn't getting many wickets. It would be unfortunate if he is dropped. None in this team can change those close matches especially batting second.

Naked Cricket said...

SJ, I doubt VK was fond of himself way back then, I wasn't either. Then it was more his run-in with the press than anything cricket.

Geebs, hurl players up and down the order, you invariably fuck with their head and form - irfan, sreesanth, kohli, rohit, uthappa, yusuf. MSD bats where and when it works for him.

Naked Cricket said...

Srinath not Sreesanth

Naked Cricket said...

BK, I was never too hot on YP, but gng by those 100s, you gotta give him a shot thru the Cup. Raina was out on form, it wasn't any other reason. YP's 100s were anything but Afridi, he took a lotta body blows, held back on the hooks, and played it thru. Plus he's bowled plenty so far. So far his 100s have come from back to the wall situations, a lotta his first class 100s are from similar hopeless situations.

I'd go with the current combo.
GG - plays himself into runs even if he scraps initially.
VK - strikes at 83 to Raina's 90, has current form, 5 100s in 47 innings to Raina's 3 in 93; better chance 2 win Ind matches than Raina presently.
Raina hasn't bowled much lately.

Naked Cricket said...

Govind, it'll be stupid if they drop YP. The mgt has backed him, waited for him, and when he played some match winning 1st class innings, they drafted him - I thought it was off, didn't expect much from him. But on the basis of the knocks, they've been bang on. Gotta stick it thru with YP.