No. 3 is where he is most impactful: AB de Villiers on Kohli’s batting position for T20 World Cup

De Villiers, who enjoyed watching Kohli bat through the season, said that criticism only motivated the former Indian captain to do better.
RCB's Virat Kohli
RCB's Virat Kohli(Photo | AFP)

CHENNAI: As India are set to begin their T20 World Cup campaign in New York against Ireland on June 5, one of the biggest talking points have been whether or not Virat Kohli should open the batting with Rohit Sharma. 

Yashasvi Jaiswal has been opening the batting for India in T20Is along with Rohit, but with the inclusion of Shivam Dube in the squad, there has been an argument made to open with the captain and Kohli while have two left-handlers in the middle-order, including Rishabh Pant. That would mean Jaiswal will miss out but India will have an extended middle-order to push for big totals. 

However, former South Africa captain and Royal Challengers Bengaluru star AB de Villiers believes that Kohli should stick to his position at No. 3 in the Indian team. “I feel he's a number three batsman and that's where he's most impactful,” de Villiers, an expert on JioCinema, said. “He's almost like the captain of the batting team everywhere he goes. He keeps the calmness and the composure within the batting unit,” he added.

"I know Virat himself really enjoys opening, which is great. You've got to respect that from a man who's played the game for many years. He understands his game really well and he understands what he wants out of the game as well. But if I was playing a TV game, Xbox, he would come in at number three in my team. I feel there's too much risk in those first couple of overs to go and ask Virat to take the game on, to hit the ball in the air. All I want him to do is to bat between overs 4 and 16-17, somewhere there,” de Villiers said.

Kohli, who has often played the anchor role to perfection, had come under the lens for his slow start and strike rate early in the IPL season. However, the former RCB captain upped the ante since and had his best season with regards to strike rate, especially against spinners. He finished with over 700 runs as the leading run-scorer of the season. De Villiers, who enjoyed watching Kohli bat through the season, said that the criticism only motivated the former Indian captain to do better.  

“Yeah, I enjoyed that," he said, before adding, "I thought it was... really bad for someone like that for a hero and a role model of the country to get so much criticism around that. But the way I know him, I just knew and that's exactly what I mentioned on my show. I said, guys, you have no idea what happens to this guy when he catches criticism. The many years I've played against him, I used to tell the players in the team room, you do not say one word to Virat on the pitch because he will come out and he will score a big 100 if you try and chirp him.”

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