Former England captain Mike Atherton has said Virat Kohli was under considerable pressure going into the 2nd T20I and it was Ishan Kishan’s refreshing approach at the top that helped the India captain to play his natural game in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
Mike Atherton said Virat Kohli failed in his bid to walk the talk after calling for a more aggressive approach from his batsmen in the first T20I. Atherton pointed out that Kohli tried to get out of his comfort zone and manufacture shots after KL Rahul’s early exit in the series opener.
Notably, Virat Kohli got out for his second successive duck when he tried to give himself room and flat bat leg-spinner Adil Rashid over the mid-off fielder in the series opener on Friday. Questions were asked of Kohli’s form but the India captain responded to his critics in style, hitting a classy 73 from just 49 balls, guiding India to a 7-wicket, series-levelling win in the 2nd T20I on Sunday.
Once again KL Rahul fell early but Ishan Kishan, on his T20I debut, took the attack to the England openers with a sense of fearlessness and a calculated approach. Kishan hit 56 from just 32 balls and stitched a 94-run stand with Kohli who was happy to play second fiddle during their partnership. Kohli shifted gears towards the end and finished with a strike rate of over 150 as India gunned down 165 with 13 balls to spare.
“I think Virat felt under a little bit of pressure in that first game because of what he’d said in the press conference about India playing a slightly more aggressive game. “The problem in that first game, with the line-up that India had was that they had quite a lot of similar players in the top-order and I think Kohli felt pressured – ‘I’ve talked the talk, let’s walk it now’ and it’s not really his game,” Atherton told Sky Sports.
Speaking about Kohli’s performance in the 2nd T20I, Atherton added: “He’s very much in his comfort zone, he’s not playing the type of shot he got out to the other day, where he is backing away and trying to manufacture something, he’s just playing a more orthodox type of innings for him, even though he’s still striking quickly and getting those fast hands through the ball in those legside shots that he plays so well.
“I definitely felt this was a more Kohli-like performance than in the first game.”
‘Ishan has added more dynamism to the Indian batting unit’
Atherton pointed out that Ishan Kishan is an important addition to the Indian T20I squad and the young Mumbai Indians batsman has certainly added “more dynamism” to the batting unit.
“I think it was an important change for them,” he said. “It’s easy to say that because Kishan got fifty but when someone plays in that manner, someone who is a real dasher, that allows everyone else to play their way.
“Rohit and Rahul are great players but they play in a similar way to Kohli. Kishan added some more dynamism to this batting line-up,” he added.