Rohit Sharma’s red-hot form has prompted India captain Virat Kohli to reinvent himself as India’s middle-overs orchestrator, a role he is ready to reprise in Tuesday’s World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, the 30-year-old said on Monday.
Opener Rohit became the first batsman to hit five centuries in a single World Cup and is the tournament’s leading scorer with 647 runs heading into the knockout stages.
Kohli, the world’s top-ranked ODI batsman, has strung together five consecutive fifties but is yet to register a hundred, something he attributed his new role as the team’s middle-overs anchor.
“It’s been a different kind of role I have played in this World Cup,” Kohli told reporters at Old Trafford.
“It’s great that Rohit has been scoring so consistently, which means that coming in the later half of the innings, you have to play a different role, which is controlling the middle overs and letting guys like Hardik (Pandya), Kedar (Jadhav), MS (Dhoni) and Rishabh (Pant) express themselves."
“I’ve understood that roles can vary a lot in one day cricket depending on the time you step in to bat and I’ve been very happy holding one end and letting other guys express themselves striking at 150-160 and even 200.”
Personal milestones are the last things on the mind of the captain who is leading India’s bid for a third World Cup title.
“Rohit said the same thing the other day, that he’s trying to do the best for the team. In that process special things happen,” Kohli said.
“I’m very happy for him and hope he gets two more (centuries) so we can win two more games,” said Kohli, terming his deputy as the best one-day cricketer at the moment.