Can Kohli replicate Kapil Dev’s feat in England?

India head into the World Cup as one of the favorites alongside England. With a strong batting lineup and a good mixture of variety in the bowling, India is touted to be the team to beat in the tournament.

Led by Virat Kohli, India’s top three looks very strong with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, alongside the skipper. Ever since the 2015 World Cup, no batsman has scored more runs than Kohli and Rohit and Dhawan, known to play big tournament well, the formidable top three is expected to give a challenge to its adversaries on the field.

India’s lower middle order too has two finishers in MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya. In the IPL, Hardik has displayed his six-hitting prowess and as a batsmen he can provide a filllip to the team’s total by slogging in the death overs. Dhoni’s form was a concern a year ago as he could not replicate his own style of batting in recent times, but a century against Bangladesh yesterday in the warm-up game tells us that he is back to his best and all India wants is the former skipper to play with the same intensity throughout the tournament.

India’s long-standing number four predicament still remains unsolved but with KL Rahul scoring a century in the warm-up game against Bangladesh one can assure that he has sealed his spot at number four.

India has a formidable fast-bowling lineup with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik is the fourth seaming option. India has Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal as the spinners and on flat pitches India’s spinners might have to play a big role in restricting the scoring rate.

The only major worry for Kohli will be the availability of Kedar Jadhav. Jadhav has been the X-factor for India in recent times with both bat and ball. Especially he has been the go-to man for his bowling as he can break partnerships with his side-arm spin. He could not feature in both the warm-ups and India wants the dimunitive all-rounder to get back to full fitness before 5 June.

India faced a humiliating loss against Pakistan in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and this time, the men in blue hope to go one step further and clinch the crown.

Aaditya Anand M