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Is Virat Kohli being left behind by the evolving T20 format?

Is Virat Kohli being left behind by the evolving T20 format?

The path to IPL or ICC T20 World Cup glory is clear: get your team selection right and break free from the shackles of the past. The question remains: can Virat Kohli adapt his game to this new reality, or will he be left behind by the ever-evolving T20 format?

Virat Kohli, a legend of the game, finds himself in a curious situation in Indian Premier League 2024 (IPL 2024). While his dedication to Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) is undeniable, the team’s struggles raise questions about whether the format itself is outgrowing Kohli’s style.

Burden of changing game on Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli shoulders a massive responsibility for RCB. With a staggering 38% of their runs this season, he’s practically carrying the team. However, the T20 format seems to be demanding a different approach. The days of a single batsman anchoring the innings seem to be fading.

This was evident in RCB’s last match against Rajasthan Royals. Virat Kohli’s century, built in 67 balls, was the slowest in IPL history. He later revealed a plan for one opener to bat through – a strategy that feels outdated in the fast-paced world of T20.

RCB’s struggles are not recent. Their batting order in the inaugural year, filled with Test stalwarts like Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer, lacked the six-hitting prowess crucial for T20. Virat Kohli, then a teenager, stood out as the only one capable of adapting.

Strange bind and lure of calculated risks on Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli’s unbeaten century against Rajasthan Royals ended in a losing cause, highlighting his predicament. He hasn’t won the IPL with RCB or the World T20 with India, suggesting a pattern across formats.

Traditionally, Test batters were seen as adaptable to shorter formats. However, T20 has become a different beast altogether. Defence takes a backseat, and scoring at a blistering pace is paramount. A 20-run cameo with sixes lower down the order can be more valuable than a measured 50 higher up.

Youngsters have embraced this new reality. Unlike Virat Kohli, who emerged between eras, they haven’t been burdened by past cricketing norms. They understand that losing their wicket isn’t a cardinal sin, as long as the intent to score quickly remains.

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Time to rethink coaching for T20 Cricket?

Perhaps, it’s time to re-evaluate coaching philosophies as well. Traditional coaches, groomed in Tests and ODIs, struggle to keep pace with T20’s ever-evolving tactics. Someone like MS Dhoni, who thrived in the format, could be the ideal mentor. Maybe even a non-playing captain, with a detached yet involved approach, could be the answer.

Watching youngsters like Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Ashutosh Sharma, and Riyan Parag showcase calculated aggression is a lesson in calculated risk-taking. It might not always work, but the intent to win is what matters. After all, scoring 32 runs off the one of the fastest bowler in the final over is improbable, but not trying is a guaranteed failure.

The path to IPL or ICC T20 World Cup glory is clear: get your team selection right and break free from the shackles of the past. The question remains: can Virat Kohli adapt his game to this new reality, or will he be left behind by the ever-evolving T20 format?

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DRS, May 26: Rohit Sharma & co leave without Virat Kohli for T20 WC, Shreyas Iyer takes dig at BCCI
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