Kohli to open batting in IPL in preparation for T20 World Cup

By Sports Desk March 20, 2021

Virat Kohli has revealed he will open the batting during the upcoming Indian Premier League season as he prepares to take on that role for India in the Twenty20 World Cup later this year.

The 32-year-old was named at the top of the Indian order in a T20 international for just the second time since 2018 ahead of Saturday's series decider against England.

That decision paid off handsomely as Kohli struck an unbeaten 80 off 52 balls to help his country to a huge total of 224 and, ultimately, a 36-run victory that clinched a 3-2 series win.

And the captain explained after the match that he is planning to continue in an opening role for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL next month, with one eye on doing the same for India when they host the T20 World Cup in October.

"I am going to open in the IPL as well," he told Star Sports.

"Look, I've batted at different positions in the past, but I feel like we do have a very solid middle order now, and now it's about your two best players getting the maximum number of balls in T20 cricket. So I would definitely like to partner Rohit at the top.

"As I rightly said, if we have a partnership and we both are set, then you know that one of us is going to cause some serious damage. That's exactly what we want. 

"And the other guys feel much more confident when one of us is still in and set, they know that they can play more freely. 

"It augurs well for the team and I would like this to continue, and hopefully continue that form through to the World Cup."

Kohli also revealed that India's preparations for the T20 World Cup will be aided by a number of short-form games against England to be played after their scheduled Test series in August and September.

He added: "I just found out that we might have some more after the Test series against England.

"[We are] more or less sorted [in terms of who will make the squad]. We are very very confident. Very happy with how things have panned out. We just want to keep moving forward with more positivity and fearlessness."

Related items

  • Former England captain Alastair Cook signs Essex extension until 2023 Former England captain Alastair Cook signs Essex extension until 2023

    Former England captain Alastair Cook has penned a two-year extension with Essex.

    Cook, who is England's all-time leading run scorer in Test cricket, signed an initial three-year deal with Essex following his international retirement in 2018.

    Since then, the 36-year-old has played an integral role in the county's successive red-ball titles in 2019 and 2020, first the County Championship followed by the inaugural Bob Willis Trophy.

    Cook registered 172 in the first innings in the latter success at Lord's to offer Essex an early lead against Somerset, ending the campaign as the leading run scorer in the competition with 563 runs at an average of 56.30.

    But Essex endured a tough season the following campaign, failing to qualify for Division One of the County Championship, while it remained unclear whether Cook would renew terms.

    Cook, however, has decided to continue playing for at least the next two years.

    Upon signing his new contract, the opening batsman to Essex's in-house media: "I have really enjoyed my cricket here at Essex since my international retirement.

    "We are lucky to have a fantastic dressing room and great coaching staff, led brilliantly by Anthony McGrath, and I'm looking forward to what is hopefully another successful couple of years."

    The left-hander made 161 Test appearances, racking up 12,472 runs at an average of 45.35 as he holds records as not only England's most-capped red-ball captain (59) but also for the most centuries for his country in the longest format (33).

  • Arsenal and Liverpool in mourning as Ray Kennedy dies aged 70 Arsenal and Liverpool in mourning as Ray Kennedy dies aged 70

    Arsenal and Liverpool great Ray Kennedy has died at the age of 70.

    Kennedy, whose death was announced on Tuesday, was a major figure in English football in the 1970s and 1980s as he won almost every trophy there was to win.

    He played an integral role in the Gunners' domestic double-winning 1971 side and scored 71 goals in 212 games before his 1974 move to Merseyside.

    At Liverpool, he was transformed from a forward into a midfielder, winning five league titles and three European Cups during a seven-and-a-half-year stay at Anfield.

    Though his arrival was overshadowed by the departure of the Reds' greatest manager Bill Shankly, Kennedy managed 393 appearances for Liverpool and scored 72 times.

    Later moves to Swansea City, Hartlepool and Cypriot outfit Pezoporikos followed for Kennedy, who also boasted 17 England caps and three international goals.

    Health issues ultimately led to Kennedy being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the mid-1980s.

    In a statement issued on Tuesday, Liverpool said: "We are mourning legendary former player Ray Kennedy, who has passed away at the age of 70.

    "The thoughts of everybody at Liverpool Football Club are with Ray's family and friends at this sad and difficult time."

    Arsenal said in a tribute: "For Arsenal fans fortunate enough to have witnessed Ray Kennedy in action, the image will remain of a teenage striking colossus, dominating opposition defences as his goals led the club to one of the game’s greatest achievements and something his name will always be associated with – the double.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with Ray’s family and friends."

    The Football Association issued its own salute to Kennedy via the England national team Twitter, saying: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ray Kennedy at the age of 70. Ray won 17 caps for the Three Lions between 1976 and 1980, scoring three times. All of our thoughts go out to his family, friends and former clubs."

  • Buttler feels he has 'nothing to lose' ahead of Ashes opener Buttler feels he has 'nothing to lose' ahead of Ashes opener

    Jos Buttler insists he has "nothing to lose" as England prepare for their Ashes battle with Australia.

    Captain Joe Root's side begin their quest for glory on December 8 in Brisbane as they look to inflict a blow on Australia, who recently enjoyed T20 World Cup success in the United Arab Emirates.

    Buttler, who is England's vice-captain and wicket-keeper in the longest format, has never played a Test match Down Under and averages just 20.50 in 18 red-ball innings against Australia – only against South Africa does he average fewer runs.

    But the 31-year-old intends to embrace the fearless approach that served him so well at the T20 World Cup, where he bludgeoned 269 runs at an average of 89.66.

    "I feel like I have nothing to lose, to be honest," Buttler told reporters at Tuesday's virtual news conference.

    "It's sort of been a disjointed year, the one just gone. Some good form and some bad form and in the year before as well.

    "But I certainly have nothing to lose. I come here and it's the first time I'm experiencing an Ashes series [in Australia] so I'm fully determined to enjoy all the challenges that throws up.

    "I'm excited to experience it: the good, the bad, and I'm sure the highs and lows along the way.

    "As a player at the minute I'm trying to bring a fearless approach and to truly try and embrace the opportunity.

    "I sort of feel like I'm in that stage in my career with nothing to lose, but to give my best, and I know when I get to somewhere near my best that's going to be pretty good."

    The Ashes has already been hitting the headlines with Australia captain Tim Paine stepping down to take a break away from cricket for mental health reasons following a lewd-texting scandal.

    Pat Cummins takes the leadership role as the fast bowler becomes Australia's 47th Test captain, and Buttler claims whoever can ignore off-field issues the best will succeed.

    "Around the Ashes there's always certain things that go on. The guys that can sort of park off-field issues or deal with the distractions an Ashes series throws up, and perform well when the ball is being delivered, is the team that's going to play best," he said.

    Despite having not played a Test match in Australia before, Buttler believes he can call upon white-ball experiences to compete against Cummins' new side.

    "I've not played a red-ball game out here, bar some Lions cricket a number of years ago," he said.

    "I've been to Australia quite a few times and played ODIs, T20s and the Big Bash as well.

    "So familiarity with some conditions is something I can dip into and hopefully not be surprised by. But I think the challenge always as a player is to adapt to any conditions that are in front of you and adapt quickly.

    "But certainly, I will try to dip into that experience, and I'm in my early 30s now so have played quite a bit of cricket and hopefully know what to expect."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.