Virat Kohli proves he can lead by example, with the bat

Tags: Asia Cup, 2013-14, India, Virat Kohli

Published on: Feb 27, 2014

There wasn’t much excitement as India took on Bangladesh in their first Asia Cup clash at Fatullah on Wednesday.

There wasn’t much excitement as India took on Bangladesh in their first Asia Cup clash at Fatullah on Wednesday. But, as far as India were concerned, they had a lot to look forward to as a team. And while there was nothing surprising about India’s easy win over Bangladesh in spite of their recent reverses against the hosts, they did tick a few important boxes en route to opening their account with a win in the Asia Cup. Although it was only Bangladesh, India would be extremely pleased to have won an international match after a good two months.

The most impressive facet of India’s triumph over Bangladesh was the performance of skipper Virat Kohli. Team India’s leader for the current series, Kohli did not do anything different with the bat during the chase. In fact, it was his typical aggressive knock, which ensured that there were no hiccups for India during a challenging chase. Since Kohli has scored hundreds time and again in tougher chases for India, this innings was a cakewalk in comparison. What had to be observed was whether Kohli would bat any differently being the captain. The clear conclusion was that he led from the front.

Kohli will face sterner tests as leader against tougher sides particularly in the field, but for the moment he has shown that he doesn’t take any extra baggage with himself when he goes out to bat. Many captains in the past, including the great Sachin Tendulkar, struggled because they tried to bat too hard while they were leading the side. Of course, it is too early to heap praise on Kohli as skipper since he has only led in a handful of games. That said, the signs are positive for sure.

Another big plus for India from the game was the batting of Ajinkya Rahane. The middle order bat has proved his mettle in Test cricket with some dogged performances on the disappointing tours of South Africa and New Zealand. But, his ODI career, which kicked off before his five-day journey, hasn’t quite taken off. One of the reasons for the same has been that he has got few and far chances owing to a strong middle order. On Wednesday, he went all out to ensure that he didn’t mess the opportunity. The chase was mostly about Kohli’s belligerence but Rahane’s calmness was the perfect complementing factor in India’s chase.

In spite of an easy six-wicket win, some problem areas remain for India. The bowling in particular was ordinary once again. Varun Aaron bowled like a club bowler and was carted all over the park. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashwin did a good containing job without threating to take wickets. India would have been chasing a much bigger score had Mohammed Shami not struck some quick blows towards the end of the innings. With the bat, India’s openers yet again failed to put up a decent start. A win notwithstanding, there’s plenty of scope for improvement against the better sides.

--By A Cricket Analyst

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