Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Director of Cricket Operations, Mike Hesson has confirmed that Virat Kohli will open alongside Devdutt Padikkal in the upcoming 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). RCB commences their campaign against the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the season opener on 9th April in Chennai.
This confirmation by Mike Hesson comes in after the skipper himself said that he would open in the IPL post his brilliant half-century in the 5th T20I against England. Kohli moved up the order replacing KL Rahul to partner Rohit Sharma; the duo added 94 runs for the first wicket, and Kohli batted through the innings remaining unbeaten on 80 off 52 balls.
The 32-year-old also expressed his desire to continue opening for India in T20Is as the T20 World Cup approaches.
“I am going to open in the IPL as well. Have batted in different positions in the past. But I feel we have a solid middle-order now. Will definitely like to partner Rohit at the top. Other guys feel a lot more confident when one of us is still in and is set. Augurs well for the team,” Virat Kohli said in the post-match ceremony of the 5th T20I.
We are looking forward to seeing Padikkal-Kohli opening the batting: Mike Hesson
Mike Hesson is excited to see Virat Kohli opening with Devdutt Padikkal, who was the leading run-scorer of his side in IPL 2020, after lacklustre returns of Aaron Finch and Josh Philippe last season.
The 46-year-old Kiwi says that Kohli’s strength is how he builds his innings – similar to the way he batted in the 5th T20I: settle in and play the second fiddle to his partner before launching an attack in the second half of the innings.
Virat Kohli indeed has had immense success at the top for RCB. All of his 5 IPL hundreds came while opening the innings. His average and strike rate as an opener – 47.86 and 140.17 – is much higher than that at number 3 – 36.93 and 123.84 – making him arguably the biggest match-winner at the top of the order in the league.
“We are looking forward to seeing Padikkal-Kohli opening the batting, the record of Kohli is phenomenal after he gets through the powerplay and we saw how well he did in the 5th T20 after opening the batting,” Mike Hesson said according to RCB’s official website.