T20 World Cup 2024: Virat Kohli's opening slot for India blocked by AB de Villiers

Updated - 23 May 2024, 11:46 AM

AB de Villier and Virat Kohli
AB de Villier and Virat Kohli. Image Credit: YouTube/Getty Images

India’s batting superstar Virat Kohli has had a phenomenal run as an opener for the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) in the IPL 2024, where he is the leading run-scorer with 700+ runs. The dashing right-hander silenced his critics, who had questioned his approach against spinners and his strike rate with his fabulous batting display for the RCB in the tournament.

Kohli has amassed 741 runs at an impressive average of 61 and a stunning strike rate of 154 as an opener for the RCB in 15 matches in the lucrative T20 league. Despite this, Virat’s close friend and former RCB teammate, AB de Villiers, believes that the former Indian skipper should bat at number three in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2024 in the USA and Caribbean.

Virat Kohli’s opening heroics in IPL 2024 puts India in a strategic dilemma

With the T20 World Cup 2024 on the horizon, the Indian cricket team faces a strategic decision, as they already have a strong right-left opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal. But there is speculation that Kohli might open for the Men in Blue at the mega event to accommodate the dynamic Suryakumar Yadav at number three.

This move can potentially sideline Jaiswal from the playing XI, but the former South African skipper believes that Kohli is most effective at number three, where he provides stability and leadership to the batting lineup and maintains calm and composure under pressure.

The Proteas batting legend further explained that there's too much risk in those first couple of overs to go with Kohli, so he is against the idea of opening the innings with the RCB opener at the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024, starting on June 1 with Team India beginning its campaign against Ireland on June 5 at New York.

The former RCB batter admitted that Kohli really loves opening, but according to him, the Indian batting maestro is most impactful at No. 3, where he is the best beast in the world. Notably, RCB was eliminated from the IPL 2024 after suffering a four-wicket loss to the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the elimination game on May 22 in Ahmedabad.

Virat Kohli is a number three batsman: AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers told PTI in a select media interaction arranged by JioCinema: “I feel he's a number three batsman and that's where he's most impactful. He's almost like the captain of the batting team everywhere he goes. He keeps the calmness and the composure within the batting unit.”

The legendary batter further explained, “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 No.3 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. I feel that's where he's best in the world by a country mile and that's where he's most impactful.”