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T20 World Cup 2024: Should Virat Kohli open or bat at No. 3?

T20 World Cup 2024: Where should Virat Kohli bat in upcoming world cup? Kohli strikes at 161.29 when opens and 135.26 while batting at no.3


Virat Kohli the chase master_ Walking wicket (Images_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Where should Virat Kohli bat for India in WC? (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)

The T20 World Cup 2024 kick-starts with the United States of America (USA) taking on Canada on June 2. But all eyes will be on India’s matches in the tournament, with the game against Pakistan on June 9 set to grab the most headlines. India also need to sort out their batting combination before they begin their campaign against Ireland on June 5. The biggest headache will be the role that needs to be accorded to Virat Kohli. Should Kohli bat at No 3 or open the innings with either Yashasvi Jaiswal or Rohit Sharma in the World event?


First, let’s take a look at Kohli’s batting figures at various positions in the T20Is

Position

Matches

Runs

Average

Strike Rate

100s/50s

Opener

9

400

57.14

161.29

1/2

No 3

80

3076

53.96

135.26

0/32

No 4

17

508

42.41

141.38

0/3

Kohli has played the majority of his T20I career as a No 3 batter. This was when anchoring in the shortest format was the cornerstone of any team’s total. Kohli has done well at No 3, averaging 53.96 and striking at 135.26. But the evolution of T20 cricket has seen the anchor’s role being abolished and no longer relevant in today’s modern-day cricket. 



So, where can Kohli fit in?

Virat Kohli opens for his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB). In the recently concluded season, he has outperformed himself as an opener, emerging as the highest run-getter in the tournament. However, what is praiseworthy is his improved strike rate as an opener, as he struck at above 150 during the tournament. 


Kohli took on the bowlers from the first ball itself, going past his previous game of settling down, accumulating runs and accelerating in the end. Kohli was in top gear right from the onset in the tournament. He destroyed bowling attacks, irrespective of reputation, maximised the powerplay with his big-hitting and brought out shots such as the slog sweep that he had not played before to score more boundaries and sixes. 


So, should Kohli open at World T20?

Considering his form in IPL, it would be worth a shot to give Kohli the chance to open the innings in World T20 with Jaiswal to keep the right-left combination. Kohli can carry forward the momentum from IPL to World T20 and give India quick starts and maximum runs in the powerplay. 


His mindset to dominate the bowlers and score at a brisk pace in the powerplay can be helpful for batters to follow. They can in-turn continue in the same momentum, batting out the opposition. Also, Kohli loves to play long innings in T20s. It can only help his batting partners to play their natural attacking game with the sense of security that Kohli is holding one end whilst striking at a good rate.



ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024_ Pros & Cons of having Rohit Sharma & Virat Kohli in India squad.  Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Rohit plays spin well so, he could come down the order (Photo: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Where can Rohit fit in?

Rohit Sharma’s form has been patchy in T20 cricket. Even in IPL 2024, he was inconsistent and he struggled to hit-off straightway. Hence, it would make more sense for Rohit to come one or two down when the ball is soft and the spinners are at work. 


He can also shield Kohli from the spinners in the middle-overs as the latter’s strike rate against tweakers is not so great. Rohit coming down the order can also help him lead from the front and finish off chases or set up tall scores. It would also give Kohli the freedom to go for the kill with the security net of Rohit to follow and carry forward the aggressive momentum or control the innings after an early setback. 

Conclusion: The opening spot for Kohli seems the best bet 

Hence, India would benefit if Kohli opens the innings in World T20 with Jaiswal as his rich form with the bat can only help the team to great starts for Rohit and Co. to build on later. It would also give the team the chance to play fearless and aggressive cricket right from onset with big-hitters Suryakumar Yadav and skipper Rohit killing the game in the middle-overs. Lastly, Rishabh Pant or Hardik Pandya can finish it off at the death.


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