It was the eve of 15th January 2022 when Virat Kohli stepped down from Test Captaincy after a disgraceful campaign by the BCCI. The whole cricketing world shook to its core with their finest son being ousted so disgracefully. Give it a year and on the eve of the same day, Virat Kohli takes the world by storm after scoring 166* in 110 balls in an innings which included 8 sixes and 13 fours. It was a day which the Sri Lankans would remember a Master teaching them a thing or two about stroke making. Kohli would go on to win the Player of the Match and the Series, with two centuries in three matches to the King of the Cricketing World. Sri Lanka would go home after a terrible whitewash by the hands of the Indians, with only their captain Shanaka leaving any sort of impact. The third match of the series saw India win by a margin of 317 runs – which is the highest margin of victory (by runs) in limited overs cricket.
Virat Kohli Ensures Plenty of Runs
With two Centuries in the Three Match ODI Series, Virat Kohli smashed several records while dispatching the Lankan bowlers to all corners of the ground. He reached his 46th ODI Century, just needing 4 more to go past the great Sachin Tendulkar’s record. His runs came in style and there was a certain panache in his stroke play. Desperation and angst seemed replaced by a certain calmness. The eyes have a razor-sharp focus, the body is still, and the shots are clean. Long forgotten are the two terrible years when the mighty King Kohli could not get bat to ball. The Cricket Fans, especially the Indian ones, will pray that this sublime form continues till the ODI World Cup in the latter half of the year.
Shubhman Gill – Good Replacement of Shikhar Dhawan
If Virat Kohli is the King of Cricket, then Shubhman Gill is touted as the Price of Cricket. Filling into the Big Shoes of Mr ICC – Shikhar Dhawan, Gill has shown glimpses of the great batter he is destined to become one day. Shubhman Gill had a big task at hand when he was given a chance to open alongside hitman Rohit Sharma in the First ODI Series of 2023. The little Prince delivered in style. Ending with a century in the final match of the series, his innings was laced with class. His contribution in the partnership with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at the top of the order will give the young lad a lot of confidence going into the World Cup 2023.
Mohammed Siraj and Umran Malik Bowling Fire
The Indian Cricket team was never known for their pace bowling. Medium pacers with acceptable line and length were just about the best we could manage. However, this is now a thing of the past. With Umran Malik bowling at 156 kmph and Siraj moving the ball both ways at the beginning, the bowling pace attack of the Indian line up is looking formidable. Perhaps Jasprit Bumrah’s injury became an opportunity for these young pacers to show their skills. When Bumrah is fit to join these two pacers, the Indian bowling attack will be one to contend with!
SKY is Vital for ODI World Cup 2023
The best batsman of T20 Cricket is fighting for a spot in the Indian ODI Squad. Surya Kumar Yadav, fondly referred to as SKY is included in all ODI Squads but is still not an automatic selection into the Playing 11. The Out-of-form KL Rahul who is a favourite of the Coach Rahul Dravid is given a fixed place in the team despite him consuming excess number of deliveries. Hardik Pandya has been outrageously rude, openly abusing players on the field with dipping form in batting and bowling. Even he is automatically selected into the ODI Squad despite little contribution. If such preferential selections are done in the year of the ODI World Cup, then India may lose its plot along the way. The last 10 overs needs to be played by the in-form and deadly Surya Kumar Yadav to break the confidence of the opposition and take Team India to another level. SKY needs a couple of balls to gauge the conditions and can hit a quicky 50 – 70 as a finisher. His hitting is clean and innovative. If he is given a consistent run, he can totally turn the game on its head!
Kuldeep Yadav Spins his Magic
Kuldeep Yadav will forever be remembered for bowling a zapper of a delivery to get Babar Azam. The young spinner is often at the receiving end when he is dropped from a match after being declared the Man of the Match in the previous game. With Chahal going severely out of form, Kuldeep got his chance in the Second ODI against Sri Lanka. He did not let go of this opportunity and picked key wickets to win India the game. He was again declared the Man of the Match. Cricket fans were left wondering if he would again be dropped from the next match. However, the Indian think tank were sensible this time around and played him in the final match. He again bowled a Magic Delivery to the Sri Lankan captain – Dasun Sanaka and sent him back to the pavilion. Kuldeep is a great asset with the ball and comes in handy with the bat down the order. He must work on his fitness and fielding efforts to become a regular member of Team India.
The road to preparation of the ODI World Cup 2023 has well and truly begun for India. They have started with a bang against Sri Lanka and will now test their abilities against the Kiwis. With the big guns like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli back in form, the other teams will need to pull up their socks if they need to beat the Indians on their home turf.