T20 World Cup: Would love it if Virat Kohli gets going and scores more runs, says Vikram Rathour

North Sound (Antigua):  Ahead of India’s second Super Eight stage game in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 against Bangladesh, batting coach Vikram Rathour said he would love to see the talismanic Virat Kohli get going and score more runs in the tournament.

Kohli, the leading run-getter in the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup, has struggled to get going in this year’s competition in the USA and West Indies, amassing just 29 runs in four innings, including recording three single-digit scores.

In India’s 47-run win over Afghanistan at Kensington Oval in Barbados, made largely possible due to Suryakumar Yadav’s 53, along with contributions from Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, and Axar Patel, Kohli made a run-a-ball 24 before holing out to long-off against Rashid Khan.

“I’m not happy. I would love it if he gets going and scores more runs. But it is good that when you are challenged at times and the guys who are not getting too much batting in India sometimes, they are the ones who put up scores and our middle order came to play. So, it was good to see,” said Rathour in the pre-match press conference.

Asked if Kohli would be played as a No.3 batter by India in Saturday’s clash against Bangladesh at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Rathour remained non-committal. “We are not thinking along those lines. We are happy with the batting order that we have. If any change happens, that will be to do with the opposition and the conditions that we come across.”

He didn’t drop any hints over whether an extra batter would be included in place of any of the four all-rounders in the playing eleven. “Again, we will take it as we come across, like when we get to the next venue (Antigua) and see what the conditions are.”

“But again, all 15 are in play as far as we are concerned as team management. So, looking at the conditions, we can go with any 11, which the captain and coach feel are the best 11 to play on that certain day. So, everybody is in play at the moment.”

The T20 World Cup matches in Antigua have recorded the second-best run rate in the competition so far, and Rathour thinks the Indian batting line-up, with its depth going deep, has it in them to adapt and thrive in conditions offered on any given day in the Super Eights.

“We have already played in the worst conditions that were possible in New York, so anything after that is feeling good only. Even it felt really good in Barbados. So, I am expecting wickets to be better. I mean, it won’t be as challenging as what we had in New York.”

“Again, we are equipped, as a batting unit, to deal with any conditions that are put in front of us. I believe we’ve always had depth as a batting team. But these conditions may suit us more because we can afford to play two or three spinners at times.”

“That gives the belief that we can put out our best team, and that has been our strength. Also, it feels like that because somebody like Axar playing at eight gives you a lot of confidence because he can bat and he’s bowling really well at the moment. So, it does give you a lot of options,” he said.

Rathour signed off by saying India are guarded against complacency, especially in facing tricky oppositions like Bangladesh, who have strong bowling trump cards in left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman and leg-spinner Rishad Hossain.

“We know we are playing a World Cup, so everybody is really motivated. We want to do well as a team and in this format especially you cannot afford to be complacent, we have to be on top of our games and we are looking forward to doing that. Every game is a fresh, new game for us.”

“As a team, we have set up our own standards. And those are the standards we need to keep up with. So whichever opposition we are playing against, we need to do our best. And if we believe that if we do that repeatedly we’ll be fine.”

“They’re a good unit. They have a lot of guys who are doing spin bowling and they are good in certain conditions. These conditions do suit them a little as a team because the wickets seem to have a bit of some help for the spinners and they do have that in their team.”

“But again, in this format, every team is a tough team. I don’t believe there is any contest in T20 cricket which is an easy contest. It might look like in the end, like we won by almost 15 (47) runs (against Afghanistan). So it looks easy, but I’m sure when the game was on it felt pretty tight.”


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