Can MS Dhoni help Virat Kohli clinch the elusive global title in T20I captaincy swansong?

Topic: Can MS Dhoni help Virat Kohli clinch the elusive global title in T20I captaincy swansong?
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The T-20 world cup will be the last world cup of Virat Kohli as a caption and also an adieu campaign for Ravi Shastri as the team’s coach. BCCI has already appointed Rahul Dravid as a coach for the next series of matches.

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During the briefing, Kohli said that it was great to play under the guidance of MS Dhoni as his presence will boost the confidence of the players and help them play their game in a better way due to his great experience.

Dhoni will, therefore, be a part of the think tank, work on the tactics board with Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shastri.

Players were habitual to the conditions of UAE as the last year IPL was played there, and this half also played there.

Many of the squad members, like KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja and quite a few others, have played vital roles for their franchises in the UAE in this period.

There is a lot of class all around – the quick men are Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, and there is the quality of R Ashwin and the mystery of Varun Chakravarthy in the spin department.

Kohli would want to end his stint as T20I – even T20, for that matter – leader by winning a global tournament. He remains the team’s best batter.

He has expressed his pride in creating a legacy that he feels will last long, and now to add some big-time success to that legacy.

Recent form

Since losing the home series against Australia 2-0 before the 2019 ODI World Cup, India was unbeaten in eight series in a row until the run ended in July when a second-string – and Covid-19-hit – India lost 2-1 in Sri Lanka.

But that series allowed India to test their bench strength, which had swelled since 2016 when the last T20 World Cup was played. Since that World Cup, India has played 72 matches and won 45, an indicator of their dominance for a win percentage of 66.

Batting

Acceleration in the middle overs is something that has been proven to be vital in T20 cricket. Since 2019, England’s run rate in the middle overs has been the best at 8.72, followed by New Zealand (8.62), South Africa (8.25) and Pakistan (8.12).

India, which is fifth on this list, have scored at 7.93 in this phase. These are their three best batters, so expect one of them to aim to play deep into the innings.

If they can set the pace, then the middle order gets going, followed by Ravindra Jadeja, who will combine with Pandya as the finisher; this is a line-up that can cause severe damage.

This batting line-up can also cover up any lack of depth if India decides to field three spinners.

Bowling

By picking four frontline spinners alongside three fast men, India has made it clear that they feel the slower bowlers would make the difference. And it is a good mix too.

There is a wrist spinner (Rahul Chahar), two experienced finger spinners (Ashwin and Jadeja), and a mystery spinner (Chakravarthy).

The other question is, who will be India’s second specialist fast man, with Bumrah the No. 1. Bhuvneshwar has vast experience and skills, but fitness and form have not been his friends.

Shami has been one of the most improved seamers in recent years, especially at the death. It could be a happy headache for India.

Player to Watch

Jadeja’s average is one point behind David Miller (56). In terms of strike rate, Jadeja is behind only AB de Villiers (226.01), Kieron Pollard (223.46) and Andre Russell (208.16).

While the power-hitting pair of Pant and Hardik Pandya has struggled for consistency, Jadeja has been a high-impact finisher.

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