Michael Atherton was of the opinion that Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant’s aggression in the second T20I allowed Virat Kohli to play his natural game, in India’s win over England. He also added that in the first T20I, owing to like-minded players in the top order, India couldn’t play aggressively.
While India have always had one of the best T20 talent pools in world cricket, their approach towards the shortest format had always been adverse, with an anchor-heavy top-order that had made the middle and lower order with a lot of work. Going into the series, Virat Kohli in the presser, revealed that India, this time around, will play with a different approach.
However, one game into the series, they had succumbed to a defeat. But in the next one, India gave debuts to Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan - with a view to implement a new, different approach. Immediately success came India’s way, with an impressive run-chase. English commentator and former skipper Michael Atherton opined that Kishan’s innings allowed Virat Kohli to play his natural game.
"He's (Kohli) an elite player and scores very quickly but not like a (Rishabh) Pant or, indeed, an Ishan Kishan. So when that young man came in and played the way that he did, I think that just allowed Kohli to come in and play his natural game," the former England skipper told Sky Sports, reported HT.
"The problem in that first game, with the line-up that India had was that they had quite a lot of similar players in the top-order and I think Kohli felt pressured. 'I've talked the talk, let's walk it now' and it's not really his game,” he added.
In the first T20I, Kohli was dismissed for a five-ball duck, a knock unfamiliar to the Indian skipper. In that innings, the right-handed batsman tried an agricultural shot, in a bid to get off to a racing start. But instead, he holed it straight into the fielder’s hands. Atherton noted that Kohli is a batsman who is always better off playing an orthodox innings.
"He's not playing the type of shot he got out to the other day, where he is backing away and trying to manufacture something. He's just playing a more orthodox type of innings for him, even though he's still striking quickly and getting those fast hands through the ball in those leg-side shots that he plays so well," he said.