Virat Kohli rested for 3rd India vs South Africa T20I, KL Rahul also given a breather
After regaining top form in the build-up to the ICC T20 World Cup, former captain Virat Kohli and KL Rahul have been rested for the third T20I between India and South Africa which will be played in Indore on Tuesday.
After regaining top form in the build-up to the ICC T20 World Cup, former captain Virat Kohli has been rested for the third T20I between India and South Africa which will be played in Indore on Tuesday. The decision has been taken considering Kohli's workload management in mind as the top brasses feel he needs to be in the best of spirits when India open their World Cup campaign against Pakistan at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23.
With India beating South Africa by eight wickets and 16 runs in the 1st and 2nd T20I respectively to bag the series, the game at the Holkar Stadium on Tuesday evening becomes a dead-rubber. Kohli played a stellar knock during India's historic win over South Africa in Guwahati on Tuesday by scoring an emphatic unbeaten 49 off 28 balls. While he missed out on notching up his record-extending half-century, batters KL Rahul (57) and Suryakumar Yadav (61) slammed crucial fifties to seal India's first-ever T20I series win over South Africa at home.
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With India set to play its final T20I game before the 2022 edition of the World Cup on Tuesday, the Indian think tank has already shared its plans of rejigging the playing XI of the Men In Blue. As per the latest developments, Kohli, who has featured in all India's matches since the Asia Cup, has been given a breather with someone else, most likely Shreyas Iyer, filling the No. 3 spot tomorrow.
"He [Kohli] has played back-to-back matches. Will have to be careful about his workload. With the T20 World Cup starting later this month, we want Virat to be fresh mentally and physically. He has featured regularly for India in T20I matches since the Asia Cup and with the series already won, it's better to give him a breather and someone else can be handed a game ahead of him," sources in the know of things told Hindustan Times.
Besides Kohli, Rahul is another name who is expected to be given a break. After coming back from injury in August, Rahul too has turned out for all India matches, playing two ODIs against Zimbabwe, the Asia Cup and five matches against Australia and South Africa combined. Rahul started off slowly but now seems to have gotten back into the groove having struck four half-centuries in six innings, including back-to-back fifties in the two T20Is against the Proteas.
Kohli, who for the first half of the year, struggled to score runs, made a stunning return to form since coming back to top-flight cricket following a six-week-break. After battling poor form in the ODI and T20I series against England in July, Kohli took time off and skipped the tours of West Indies and Zimbabwe. Kohli admitted that while he was away, he did not touch a bat for a month, the first time he had done so. And reportedly, it has worked wonders for the former World No. 1 batter. Since making his comeback in the Asia Cup, Kohli has scored 404 runs from 10 matches, including three fifties and a century.
He began with a crucial knock of 35 against Pakistan in a thriller which India won by five wickets, and followed it with consecutive half-centuries against Hong Kong and Pakistan again. Kohli was dismissed for a duck against Sri Lanka but snapped his near three-year-long wait for a century, blasting 122 not out against Afghanistan.
Kohli's exploits in the Asia Cup, where he scored 276 runs from five innings at an average of 91 and strike-rate of 147.59 and was the second-highest run-getter of the tournament - helped him move up in the ICC men's T20 rankings for batters. Kohli, who has slumped to 29th in the rankings, jumped 14 places to be placed 15th in the table.
Against Australia at home, Kohli couldn't do much in the first two games, getting dismissed for 2 and 11, but in the series decider, the former India captain belted 63 off 48 balls – an innings during which he completed 11,000 runs in T20 cricket – as India won another last-over humdinger and won the series 2-1.