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After Virat Kohli, who’s India’s next chase master?

Who’s the next Indian chase master after Virat Kohli? Who will carry the baton after Kohli for India?

Virat Kohli the chase master_ Walking wicket (Images_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Virat Kohli the chase master (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)

In the world of cricket, few sights are as delightful as India chasing a target successfully in One Day Internationals (ODIs). From last-ball thrillers, nail-biting finishes, to unbelievable domination in run chases, the Indian team has produced some lasting memories for fans. Since the past 10-12 years, one name that is common in all these success stories is Virat Kohli - a name which has become synonymous with efficient chases. But as time changes and the cricketing landscape evolves, an important question arises: Does India’s chase potential end with Kohli out of the picture?


Analyzing the numbers

Team India has seen many ups and downs in ODI cricket since July 2022. With Kohli in the playing XI, India have won 14 out of 19 matches where he has scored 716 runs with four centuries at an average of 47.73 and strike rate of 111.87.


Kohli is not just another contributor in a victory, but is the backbone of the team when it comes to batting. His stats are enough to show his impact on the game. Currently, he is India’s best batter in run chases, his presence in the middle gives confidence to the fans and the players seated in the dressing room. His 82* in the T20I against Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground is an example of his capability and his temperament.


All in all, Kohli’s impact goes farther than runs; it's all about the manner In which he scores them – with precision, determination, and a touch of magic.


Virat Kohli averages over 64 in Chase in ODI_ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Virat Kohli averages over 64.2 in Chase in ODI (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Why Kohli is Crucial for India in Chases

Kohli’s effectiveness in chasing targets is nothing short of legendary. His flawless technique, unbelievable fitness, and mental fortitude have made him a chase master. Virat’s ODI average while batting second is a staggering 64.2 – more than anyone in the current era. His ability to take the innings deep, rotate strikes, take the bowlers head on, and accelerate the innings, when needed, makes him lethal. His ability to finish games is the X-factor that India relies on.


Picture this: India is chasing a huge target. The top-order has failed again, and the required run rate is climbing and the target is as high as Mount Everest. The crowd is nervous, and the opposition bowlers are full of energy. Then enters Virat Kohli - calm as a monk, but as fierce as a warrior. He takes control, calculates the chase like a chess grandmaster, takes chances when needed, and before you know it, India is already closer to victory.


His adaptability in different situations, concentration and his ability to thrive under pressure are unmatched. His hunger to be the best sets the bar high and motivates his teammates to push their limits.


KL Rahul has done well in chase for India in ODI_ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Rahul's calm nature has won India matches in ODI while chasing (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
The Search for a Successor

Identifying Kohli’s successor is crucial for India’s ODI future. Ideally, a combination of these players could collectively fill the void left by Kohli’s absence - whenever the day comes.


As we try to imagine a post-Kohli era, there are a few names that emerge as potential successors who can carry forward India’s chase legacy.


Batting Record while batting second in ODI since July 2022

Player

Innings

Runs

Avg

SR

50s/100s

Hardik Pandya

23

788

46.4

103.1

5/0

Shreyas Iyer

16

683

52.5

100.9

6/1

Shubman Gill

15

652

59.3

95.3

3/1

KL Rahul

18

518

37.0

75.4

5/0

SA Yadav

12

304

30.4

99.0

2/0

Shubman Gill has been in terrific form since a year, scoring hundreds in every format and even a double hundred against New Zealand. He has shown his style and solid technique, making him a top contender. He has already shown glimpses of his potential, but still the question remains – can he be as consistent as Kohli under pressure?


KL Rahul is the stylish batter who can also keep wickets, and has often been India’s go-to man in ODI cricket. His technique is his core strength, which helps him to adapt to different roles and different conditions, makes him a strong candidate. However, he has been struggling with injury consistently and he needs to score regularly.


Shreyas Iyer brings a fearless approach to the game. His attitude to score runs and his ability to accelerate the innings and take calculated risks can be invaluable in chases. But to truly fill Kohli’s shoes, he must prove himself on a consistent basis and develop and maintain the calmness and composure for dishing out match-winning innings.


Hardik Pandya, since his comeback into the national side, has shown maturity - he has taken up responsibilities, helping Team India to score quickly and to finish the innings when required. His explosive batting can help the team to turn the tide in chases. His fitness and ability to finish games make him an exciting prospect. However, the sample size is very less - he is yet to do so repeatedly, and the question of batting at different positions is also a big one.


Kohli’s huge contribution in India’s ability to chase is evident. His departure from the playing XI - whenever it may come - will leave a significant void. While Gill, Rahul, Iyer, and Pandya have the talent and potential, they might require a collective effort to replicate his impact.


As Indian cricket transitions, the search for a new chase master continues, one or more of them can step up to fill in the shoes. The legacy, which Kohli took over from MS Dhoni, has been further enriched but it needs to be carried forward by someone after him. It’s a challenge that these young talents must embrace if India wants to maintain its dominance in ODIs.


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