I Don’t Think Anyone Can Replace Virat Kohli At No. 3: Rajkumar Sharma

Virat Kohli has been rested for India’s ongoing tour of the West Indies, which includes three ODIs and five T20Is. The Indian team is playing without some of its major first-team players in the ODI series against the West Indies.

While Shikhar Dhawan leads the side in the absence of Rohit Sharma, a host of regular players like Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Jasprit Bumrah among others have also been rested. There were significant concerns over the decision to rest Virat Kohli, however, who has been going through a rough patch with the bat over the past few months.

Virat Kohli(Getty)

Virat Kohli Can’t Be Replaced At No. 3: Rajkumar Sharma Feels Shreyas Iyer’s Best Position Would Be No. 4-5

The 33-year-old former India captain had failed to cross the 20-run mark in six innings across all three formats of the game during the tour of England. In the two ODIs that he played on the tour, Virat Kohli registered scores of 16 and 17. Notably, India’s star batter has also been rested for the five-match T20I series that follows the ongoing ODIs.

Virat Kohli scored only 11 and 20 in the 5th rescheduled Test against England. His poor form continued in T20Is too as he failed to make a mark on his comeback. The batting superstar was out for just 1 off 3 balls in the 2nd T20I and scored 11 off 6 balls in the 3rd T20I before a minor groin strain ruled him out of the 1st ODI.

During a discussion ahead of the second ODI of the series in Port of Spain, Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma opened up on the player’s absence and on Shreyas Iyer, who has replaced him in the role at no.3. Rajkumar Sharma said that while Virat Kohli’s place in XI is never a doubt, the team needs to groom the youngsters.

“It is important. See, I don’t think anyone can replace Virat Kohli at no.3 for some time, but we will have to develop youngsters at that position. And I think there will be many experiments on that position too. It isn’t necessary that only Shreyas Iyer takes over that role,” Rajkumar said.

Rajkumar Sharma is Virat Kohli's childhood coach (Source: Twitter)
Rajkumar Sharma is Virat Kohli’s childhood coach (Source: Twitter)

“He is a suspect against genuine fast bowling sometimes, especially against short-pitched deliveries. He has been dismissed on many occasions playing the short delivery in the past. I think his best position would be no.4 or no.5.”

“He accelerates really well, he paces his innings well. By the time he arrives in either of those positions, the ball wouldn’t be moving much and it is a high possibility he won’t be targeted straightaway. So, I think he can be a better batsman (in that role),” Rajkumar Sharma further added.

Shreyas Iyer has replaced Virat Kohli during the ongoing ODI series against West Indies at number 3, as senior players like Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant among others have given time away before the T20I series.

Shikhar Dhawan has been leading Team India in place of Rohit Sharma, while the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Hooda, and Sanju Samson have been given a chance in the ODIs. Amid Virat Kohli’s ongoing slump with the bat, the 33-year-old has been given extra time off as he will take no part in the T20I series either.

Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, And Axar Patel Hit The 50s To Propel India To Clinch ODI Series Against West Indies

Half-centuries from Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, and Axar Patel helped Team India win the second ODI of the three-match series against West Indies by two wickets here at Queens Park Oval stadium in Port of Spain on Sunday. Shreyas Iyer smashed 63 runs off 71 balls before he got LBW by Alzarri Joseph.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer (Credits: Twitter)

India has now taken a winning 2-0 lead in the series. Struggling at 79/3, a 99-run stand between Shreyas Iyer (63) and Sanju Samson (54) provided stability to their innings.

Axar Patel turned out to be India’s unlikely hero with the bat as he scored an unbeaten 64 off just 35 balls to help India chase down a big 312-run target against West Indies in the second ODI in Port of Spain. The win ensured that the Shikhar Dhawan-led Indian cricket team takes an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

His innings included five sixes and three fours. Set a stiff target of 312, the visitors were tottering at 205 for five in 38.4 overs but Axar Patel rescued India with his six-hitting prowess, taking the visitors home with two balls to spare on Sunday.

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