In the ICC World Cup 2019, we are seeing a much calmer and relaxed version of Virat Kohli. Before India's first match of the tournament, South African speedster Kagiso Rabada called Kohli 'immature' but the Indian skipper decided to not draw himself into an unnecessary war of words and ignored Rabada's statement in the pre-match press conference
New Delhi: India captain Virat Kohli has scored over 11,000 runs in One Day Internationals (ODIs) and broken many records. He is the number one ODI batsman in the world and his numbers suggest that he is likely to end his career as the greatest ODI batsman of all time.
Kohli's biggest strength is his willingness to learn and stay hungry for more, all the time. In the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019, he has been at the top of his game — as batsman and captain. He is leading the Indian cricket team with a lot of enthusiasm, positive energy, and confidence.
Let's have a look at three noteworthy improvements Kohli has made in his game in the ICC World Cup 2019.
1. Calmness over aggression
Kohli is widely regarded as one of the most aggressive and in-your-face Indian cricketers ever. He plays the game with utmost passion and gives his best every single time on the field and also off it, in the press conferences. He is someone who doesn't hold himself back and believes in giving back to his opponents, on and off the field.
However, in the ICC World Cup 2019, we are seeing a much calmer and relaxed version of Kohli. Before India's first match of the tournament, South African speedster Kagiso Rabada called Kohli 'immature' but the Indian skipper decided to not draw himself into an unnecessary war of words and ignored Rabada's statement in the pre-match press conference.
Also, during the match against Australia, Kohli stepped up for Steve Smith and told Indian fans in the stadium to stop booing and applaud him. This gesture was praised by one and all in the cricketing fraternity and fans from across the world showered praises on him on social media.
2. Adapting to a new role
There are a lot of match-winners in India's batting line-up but Kohli still remains the biggest wicket for the opponents. His ability to read the game and anchor the innings is second to none. However, in the ICC World Cup 2019, he has made a change in his approach to avoid a batting-order collapse. He is, intentionally, keeping a low strike rate at the start of his innings to keep one end solid and accelerating in the last quarter of the game. Kohli is one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball but he is allowing other big hitters to take the charge just to keep one end intact till the very last phase of the game.
3. Improved captaincy
Kohli's captaincy has been absolutely spot-on in the World Cup 2019. He picked Bhuvneshwar Kumar ahead of an in-form Mohammad Shami, backing Kumar despite an average show from the fast bowler in IPL 2019. It has turned out to be a good decision as Kumar picked five wickets in the first two matches, before getting injured during the game against Pakistan.
Also, in the match against Pakistan, when Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman were looking to see off Kuldeep Yadav's threat in the middle, Kohli gave Yadav a longer spell and as a result, the young chinaman dismissed both the batsmen in a matter of two overs. It was a masterstroke that turned the game on its head.
His field placements have also been very aggressive and out of the box. In India's first match of the tournament against South Africa, when Jasprit Bumrah was swinging the ball both ways at a good pace, Kohli stationed himself at the third-slip and took a good catch to dismiss Quinton de Kock. Usually, we don't get to see three slips in an ODI match but Kohli spotted the fire in Bumrah's stride and gave him an extra attacking fielder.
Against Australia, Kohli read the conditions brilliantly and decided to bat first as he expected the pitch to become slow in the second innings. It was a big decision considering India is a very good chasing side. Also, in the match against Pakistan, Kohli was right to think in bowling first, although Pakistan won the toss. The weather conditions and the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method could have made chase tougher for India.
Kohli has come a long way as a captain. He is totally focused on lifting the glorious World Cup trophy once again for India and for that, he is ready to make every positive change in his game and captaincy.
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Last Updated Jun 19, 2019, 9:38 AM IST