Virat Kohli didn’t score too many runs in India’s 2-0 T20I series win against Ireland but no one is reading too much into it. Considering Kohli’s record in white-ball cricket, any captain would have a headache before the match.
The India captain averages a mind-boggling 58.10 in ODIs from 208 matches with 9588 runs while his T20I average reads 48.58 in 59 matches with 1992 runs. So, do England have the plans to constrain Virat in the limited-overs series?
Addressing the press conference before the first T20I, scheduled to be played in Manchester on Tuesday (July 3), England captain Eoin Morgan said: “That’s a very good question. I’m not sure I have the answer.”
After a bit of hesitation, Morgan quipped: “Yes”. However, he didn’t reveal the plan.
India’s wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have become the architects of India’s awe-inspiring show in ODI cricket of late. The Men in Blue have lost just 5 in their last 26 one-day internationals since last year's Champions Trophy and both the spinners have played an instrumental role in it.
During the South Africa tour earlier this year, Chahal and Kuldeep had literally bamboozled the Proteas batsmen. The spin twins had scalped 33 wickets between them as the Men in Blue clinched the six-match ODI series with a stunning margin of 5-1. While Kuldeep had finished the series with 17 wickets to his name, Chahal claimed 16 wickets to script a maiden bilateral ODI series victory for India in the rainbow nation.
When asked about the challenge of facing Chahal and Kuldeep, Morgan stated: “Like everything, if you play against a side with good players, if you focus on one or two of them, say the spinners, it’s more than likely it’s the seamers who will actually go and get the wickets. It can have a completely different impact if you focus on two guys too much within a team. They are a strong side and have other components to their game, and very experienced domestic background. It’s going to be a difficult challenge.”
Morgan though admitted that the hot weather will aid spin.
“The weather normally has a big impact on the pitch that’s produced. The grounds we go to in the T20 series normally take a bit (of spin) as well,” he opined.
“Generally it is a different challenge particularly when you play against subcontinent teams. It normally exposes sides like ourselves and South Africa and Australia to spin, reverse swing, different challenges to that we are normally used to. But we are in the middle of our summer and we have played a lot of cricket. Hopefully, we will be able to deal with it,” Morgan concluded.