Leading from the front

Leading from the front

Cricket: Skipper Kohli awaits Rohit's return to the top

Leading from the front

Virat Kohli has time and again proven to be a team man. In the absence of an experienced opener in Twenty20, the captain shouldered the responsibility and gave a good account of himself during the first Twenty20 international against England. Kohli says he would continue to lead the batting charge till Rohit Sharma comes out of injury.

In many ways it could be a blessing in disguise. Kohli is in top form and the presence of a dominant character like him at the start could ensure India  getting off the blocks on the front foot.

Kohli, although a reluctant opener, was confident of making his mark at the new slot. He looked comfortable facing the new ball on Thursday, managing 29 off 26 balls.

"I’ve opened enough in the IPL -- in 17 matches. So I think I have an idea about opening which is why I opened. There was no special strategy. You can play another batsman in the middle order, like Suresh Raina at No. 3. When you don’t have Rohit in the side as an opener, then I can step up in the order because it adds more balance to the side," Kohli said.

 "If Rohit was in the side there’d be no question and he’d be opening with Rahul. It’s more of providing balance to the side, I have no urge to open, I can play at No 3 as well. I’ve played at three for India for a long time, I can play anywhere the management thinks is the best for the team.”

Opening had been an issue with the Indian batting line up of late and Kohli admitted it was a difficult spot to be handled by a youngster. "Getting an opener at the international level is quite difficult. Opening is the kind of slot where you have to back your players for a while. It is a difficult position. When the players get experience and become confident, opening partnerships give you a lot of benefit. Since our opening partnerships have not clicked in recent past such questions will arise, but as team management we will back them.”

 However, batting on the whole didn’t click for India in the first T20, and Kohli would be expecting a better performance from his batsmen in the coming two matches.

“If we had bowled better we could have made a good fight of the total we had on the board but about 170-175 would have been a more competitive total. I wouldn’t say a match-winning one still because the ball was coming on nicely. But with the start England had, it was difficult to pull things back and that’s where we needed a cushion of 35-40 runs which we didn’t have."