What are the odds that Virat Kohli would begin the Twenty20 World Cup for India?

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Being forced to bat in a position other than where one has seen success for state or franchise is one of the numerous difficulties of playing international cricket. It’s a guarantee that someone who wants to make the national team will have to bat outside of their comfort zone. Thankfully, Virat Kohli is not one of those people.

The former skipper will have played for 16 countries by August. In terms of formats, he has not accomplished much. And as another evidence of his unwavering determination to keep improving, even at 35 and in light of the amount of work he has produced, Kohli has elevated his batting game this IPL.

The only reason Royal Challengers Rummy Gold has hope for a postseason berth is because of their lucky charm. Kohli stood tall, especially in the early going when everyone else had forgotten how to produce runs save for Dinesh Karthik. Even though RCB lost six straight games and seven of their first eight games despite Kohli’s valiant efforts, his head and shoulders never dropped. He hasn’t lost any of his brilliance now that the rest of the batting lineup is clicking, as seen by his 47-ball 92 against Punjab Kings on Thursday.

The fourth time he has reached 600 runs in an IPL season, Kohli now has 634 runs, about a hundred more than Ruturaj Gaikwad. This is his sixth knock of 50 or more in 12 innings this season, further solidifying his lead at the top of the run-scorers’ leaderboard. Notably, the strikes on those runs—all of which were scored when opening the batting—have averaged 153.51. His T20I strike-rate is 138.15, while his overall Dafabet strike-rate is 134.31.

All of this raises the question: Should Kohli and skipper Rohit Sharma be moved up to begin the batting at the T20 World Cup next month?

It’s not like Kohli hasn’t used the shortest format to begin for India. In fact, the only three-figure blow he has ever received on the international front occurred in the Asia Cup opening match against Afghanistan in September 2022. He has amassed 400 runs at 57.14 in nine innings at the top of the order; his strike-rate of 161.29 is notably better than his totals from batting at No. 3 (135.26, 3,076 runs at 53.96 in 80 innings). Nothing else will make a compelling argument for the right-hander to go up the order if this doesn’t.

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