ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Injuries mounting pressure on Kohli, Rohit as league closes in

Omkar Paranjape
Tuesday, 25 June 2019

How will team India deal with the injury issues going ahead in the World Cup?

LONDON: Altered plans often lead one to unheralded territory, something the Indian team found out against Afghanistan. 

With injuries forcing Virat Kohli’s hand to change a few combinations, the Indian team has found it hard to digest.

Shikhar Dhawan’s injury has mounted considerable pressure on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to perform in every match here further. 

In four matches thus far, Virat Kohli has scored 244 runs from the four innings at an average of 61.00. At the top of the order, Rohit Sharma has already helped himself to two big hundreds.

As India look to continue their unbeaten run in this tournament, Virat Kohli’s form will play an imperative role in ensuring that the Indian inning does not fall apart.

With some strong bowling attacks in the form of England’s and West Indies’ pacers set to come up against India, Kohli will undoubtedly play a key role in stitching an important knock.

More importantly, Kohli will be keen on leading India to a World Cup triumph and with the Indian skipper in some top form in recent times, his proficiency with the bat in hand could have a major outcome on how India fare in the end.

Also, given the fact that India are missing Shikhar Dhawan, adds that much pressure on Kohli and Rohit Sharma to be consistent throughout the course of the tournament. Apart from these two, Indian top order misses that firepower that Shikhar Dhawan provided in abundance.

Shikhar Dhawan’s injury is affecting India in more ways than one. Since his injury, India have opted for KL Rahul to partner Rohit up top. But Rahul likes to bide his time, just as Rohit does, also, the brilliant understanding between Rohit and Dhawan has been missed.

More often than not, the southpaw is the aggressor which gives ample time for the former to settle down and then launch an assault on the opposition. Now with KL Rahul opening the innings along with Rohit takes away the left-right combination and it also forces Rohit to be the aggressor as we saw against Pakistan. This change in the role could affect India’s batting strategy going ahead in the World Cup.

When KL Rahul scored a century in the warm-up game against Bangladesh, the number four debate seemed to have settled down. But with him now opening the innings, the question has once again popped up mid-way through the World Cup. As of now, the team has been pretty flexible promoting Hardik Pandya at four as they have got off to brilliant starts.

But what if a couple of wickets fall early? Vijay Shankar is currently playing ahead of others thanks to his ability to bowl which worked against Pakistan. It will be interesting to see if the team management will back him at four if Indis loses early wickets in any of the matches going forward. Apart from him, MS Dhoni is also the option who can take his time to settle down and then play according to the situation.

Perhaps the easiest and like to like replacement for Bhuvneshwar Kumar is Mohammed Shami. The latter has been in outstanding form leading into the World Cup picking up 9 wickets against New Zealand in 4 matches and 5 wickets in the home series against Australia.

But the issue with Shami playing is India’s long tail. The team’s lower order contributing with the bat immensely important in the modern-day cricket. Bhuvi bats at number eight whenever he plays.

This might open up an option of playing Ravindra Jadeja in the team as well. However, for that to happen, either Shami or one of the wrist spinners will have to sit out which will make the bowling look a tad weak.

Thus Virat Kohli, like the knight-has to gather his troops and rally them past the injury problems.

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