Kohli, Rohit have last chance to get ICC trophy for India after 13 years

The Uncut

Bengaluru: It is difficult to find two cricketers who are so different from each other but yet so closely connected by the thread of fate as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Rohit made his debut in top level cricket in Belfast in 2007 while Kohli played his first international match a year later in Dambulla. Another interesting chapter of this journey together will probably end in the Caribbean islands next month.

The next T20 World Cup is in 2026, which will be jointly hosted by India and Sri Lanka, but by then Rohit will be 40 years old and Kohli will be 38. The ODI (50 overs) format World Cup will be held another year later.

Given the increasingly strike-rate driven nature of the game, it’s hard to see these two playing in either of those. So both Rohit and Kohli would want to walk off the stage next month with a winner’s medal around their necks. If they can, it will be their second world title after the 2007 T20 World Cup (Rohit) and the 2011 50-over World Cup (Kohli).

And it will be a fitting farewell for two players who have had a huge impact on India’s limited-overs cricket over the last 17 years. However, the Kohli-Rohit story is based on mutual respect and the awareness that they should not interfere in each other’s work.

Kohli has spoken about the admiration he has for Rohit since the beginning of his career.
Kohli said in ‘Breakfast with Champions’, “I was full of curiosity about a player. People used to say – ‘This is a player who is moving fast’. I used to be surprised that I am also a young player but no one talks about me, then who is this player?’

He said, “But when he (Rohit) came to bat, I was silent. It was amazing to watch him play. In fact, I have not seen any player timing the ball better than him. ” Among the two batsmen, Kohli is the more adaptable batsman across all formats who has adapted more easily to the changing nature of the game.

He has scored runs all over the cricketing world at a pace rarely seen since the golden days of Sachin Tendulkar. Rohit made his mark in the white-ball formats but the Mumbai batsman failed to achieve the same success in Test cricket for most of his career.

However, in the second half of his career, Rohit performed better in Test cricket as an opening batsman.
But for now, Kohli and Rohit will have to rely on their vast experience in the format to carry forward India’s campaign in the T20 World Cup.

Rohit will certainly open the innings and if last year’s World Cup and the recently concluded IPL are any indication, the captain will continue his selfless, aggressive approach. Rohit has the ability to play big shots which will help him. His ability to play the pull shot with weight on one leg can attract anyone.

But Kohli’s game is a little different. He can hit the occasional big shot but often struggles against spin, especially left-arm spinners. His career strike rate against slow bowlers in T20s is around 120.

At times this hampered his progress in the middle overs but he found a solution to it during this year’s IPL. He used the slog sweep against the spinners. This had a good impact on his strike rate as Kohli scored 260 runs off 188 balls and hit 15 sixes against the spinners.

His strike rate against spin has climbed to 139 which is much better than his overall IPL strike rate of 124. This could come in handy for Kohli in the T20 World Cup where pitches are expected to slow down as the tournament progresses, increasing the importance of spinners.

Beyond the realm of cricket, the sight of both these giants making a final attempt to win the ICC trophy will be an exciting spectacle for both individually and for the team. Fans will also want to enjoy it to the fullest.

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