Virat Kohli – in or out?
Here are the questions you need to answer before deciding on getting in Virat Kohli into your team today:
Are you going to captain him? With AB de Villiers in, I am not. Equally destructive and safe. Bats only one position lower, and it should just be a matter of time before Mumbai Indians get the first wicket with the kind of bowling line-up they have.
Can you carry him to the next match? Royal Challengers Bangalore don’t play for a while after today, so I can’t. And if he fails, carrying him around will create a lot of issues.
Can the opposition stop him? There are only two attacks in the league that come remotely close to being capable of it. Mumbai is certainly one.
Is Kohli’s recent Test series returns similar to David Warner – a case of potential overriding form as discussed in the Sunrisers season preview? Certainly not. Kohli’s potential is as good as anyone’s in subcontinental conditions. And if he is in form, it will translate to runs.
In fact, if you dig a little deeper, you may find that Kohli’s run of poor scores started even before the Australian Test series. These are his five LOI scores in the matches leading up to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy – 8, 55, 29, 21, and 2, against England. Not often would you see the Indian captain failing that way in a limited-overs series at home. Maybe, there is more to it than a bad Test series. If you still want to play safe, it is understandable, but logically speaking there are enough reasons to keep him out.
RCB vs MI: Fantasy Factors
With Virat Kohli done, AB de Villiers, Kedar Jadhav and Yuzvendra Chahal are the others players worthy of a spot in your team. Jadhav and Chahal are already in, and I get in De Villiers as well. Chahal’s fantasy potential has taken a severe hit this year, as RCB haven’t managed to put runs on the board.
This is probably the last chance I am giving them, and if their batting unit fails again, I will have no option but to get rid of the Indian leg-spinner. It is also one of the reasons why Tymal.Mills hasn’t been getting a lot of wickets either.
Coming to the Mumbai Indians, there were a lot of eyebrows raised when I decided to leave out Jos Buttler from my XI against Sunrisers Hyderabad. In 17 innings for Mumbai, the England wicketkeeper-batsman hasn’t scored a single half-century, and I think that makes it obvious. If he is going to change it today, so be it, but I am not getting him in till he gets one. The same applies to Rohit Sharma.
Between Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah, I had gone for the former ahead of the last match, but Bumrah ended up with more wickets, thanks to bowling the 18th and 20th overs. Trying to make up for it now could backfire, so I now have no option but to stick with Malinga.
Transfers made – 1; Transfers remaining – 59
David Warner out – AB de Villiers in
(uncapped) Manan Vohra out – Nitish Rana in
Uncapped preference order – 1. Nitish Rana 2. Krunal Pandya 3. Vishnu Vinod 4. Iqbal Abdulla
Captain – AB de Villiers
Gujarat Lions vs Rising Pune Supergiants
With two of the league’s weakest bowling attacks in play on a good batting deck, expect a lot of runs here. Imran Tahir is the only bowler from either side who is capable of controlling the flow of runs, and how the Gujarat Lions play him could very well decide the fate of the match.
RPSG – Fantasy Factors
Both Steve Smith and Manoj Tiwary are available for selection again. Smith could bring back the stability that the Pune side badly missed against the Delhi Daredevils in their last encounter, while Manoj Tiwary, who looked surprisingly good in an unfamiliar role against Kings XI Punjab, could add a lot of value too.
Dan Christian could come back in for Adam Zampa, who hasn't been able to bring his last season form, but given the Lions’ weakness against spin, it would not be a bad move to give him this match and then bring in Christian for the upcoming fixtures. Ashok Dinda should consider himself extremely lucky if he gets one more chance this season with Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur waiting on the bench. Three consecutive failures would mean Mayank Agarwal could get dropped as well.
GL – Fantasy Factors
After two heavy losses, I don't see the Lions fielding four overseas batsmen again. They are easily the worst bowling side in the competition, and it is further compounded by the fact that none of James Roy, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Smith looks secured against spin. With Dwayne Bravo unavailable, their best solution at the moment is to play both James Faulkner and Andrew Tye, but you know that is not going to happen.
On form and recent franchise T20 history, Andrew Tye is a better pick, but expect James Faulkner to sneak in based on reputation. Roy is likely to get the axe, which would mean Finch moves back to the top order and Dinesh Karthik to No.4. Smith should remain at No.5.
Transfers made – 3; Transfers remaining – 56
AB de Villiers out – Steven Smith in
Lasith Malinga out – Imran Tahir in
Yuzvendra Chahal out – Suresh Raina in
(uncapped) Nitish Rana out – Rajat Bhatia in
Uncapped preference order – 1. Mayank Agarwal 2. Rajat Bhatia 3. Shivil Kaushik
Captain – Steve Smith
All Suresh Raina needs to do is see off Tahir and he could provide excellent returns, so with Ben Stokes and Ajinkya Rahane already in my side, I bring him in as well. Smith should be a no-brainer. After what Rashid Khan did to the Lions, Tahir is too tempting to be left out.