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Photo: BCCI/IPL   

Virat Kohli In Pursuit Of IPL Title And India Opener’s Role

Virat Kohli doesn’t want any gremlin to botch up India’s campaign in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup this winter in India. He declared during the India-England home series that he will open the inning for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL Season 14. He is again getting used to facing the new ball, finding the rhythm that has resulted in four wins on the trot for the franchise that cost United Spirits $111.6 million 13 years ago. On a personal note, Kohli, who has reached a number of pinnacles in his career, became the first to touch the IPL-6,000-run mark in his 188th innings at the Wankhede Stadium against the Jaipur side on April 22. Nothing less than the title will make Kohli happy, but one could see him continue with the opener’s role and get battle-hard for the World Cup. There is nothing new about India’s best batsman across all formats hitting the straps, as an opening batsman in the VIVO-sponsored league — regarded by one and all as the world’s most popular. Just for the record, he has scored 2,488 runs (average 47.85) as an opener, 208 shy of his #3 high of 2,696 (average 36.93). In a way, KL Rahul — he did not get going in four Twenty20 internationals against England at Ahmedabad — forced it on Kohli to open the innings with the other giant of white-ball cricket, Rohit Sharma. In the last brush with England at Ahmedabad, Sharma made 64 and Kohli an unconquered 80 as India went on to clinch the series. Any doubt now that he will not open with Sharma in the Twenty20 World Cup?