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Overdependence on Virat Kohli does not augur well for Team India
From the Web Desk, 12/02/2018, New Delhi


To say that the series between India and South Africa has turned into a series between Virat Kohli and the hosts won't be an overstatement. While Shikhar Dhawan has proved to be a productive ally to his West Delhi compatriot in the shorter formats, none of the other batsmen have really chipped in. The Test series was a classic case in point. In fact, Kohli was the lone centurion across both teams and was easily the top-scorer with 286 runs at an average of 47.66. The next best Indian was Hardik Pandya who scored 119 runs at an average of 19.83. Those stats would have been worse had he not scored that buccaneering 93 in Centurion.

Murali Vijay (102 runs, average 17), Cheteshwar Pujara (100 runs, avg 16.66) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (101 runs, avg 33.66) were the only batsmen to get past the 100-run mark.

While the wickets in Tests were expectedly spicy and afforded generous help to the batsmen, the same cannot be said about the One-dayers. In four matches so far, Kohli, with two tons, a 75 and a 46 not out has aggregated 393 runs at a stratospheric average of 196.50. Rohit Sharma, who came a cropper in the Tests and who was expected to come into his own in coloured clothing as he has earned a reputation of being an All Time Great in white ball cricket with three double hundreds, has been in abysmal touch scoring just 40 runs at a poor average of 10. His faulty technique has meant that he only has scores like 20, 15, 0 and 5 to show for his effort or lack of it.

Dhawan though has been prolific scoring two half-centuries and a sublime ton in Johannesburg. His contributions have been far more productive as he has got scores of 35, 51 not out, 76 and 109. Even at the Wanderers, he was the one who energised the innings with a fast start. Ajinkya Rahane scored a dazzling 79 in the first ODI, but has not made use of his chances in the other games despite India being in good positions and him getting overs to bat.

Hardik Pandya, despite earning a promotion in the batting order, has not done well and it is too early to judge Shreyas Iyer based on what he did in just one game.

Dhoni too has remained unbeaten in two of the three innings he has played in which he has scored 56 runs. But his 43 on Saturday was laborious and reinforced the belief that many have harboured that his hitting skills are on the wane.

In the mid and late 90s, especially when India played overseas, the opposition always felt you could get India if you could get Sachin Tendulkar for a relatively modest score or get him on a decent individual score but with overs to spare. A similar situation panned out in the Champions Trophy last June. With the World Cup scheduled in 16 months from now, the Indian captain could do well with more support from his other mates.


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