World Cup Preview: Kohli leads India charge for redemption

By Mariah Ramharack May 23, 2019

Mercurial India skipper Virat Kohli leads experience team in quest for third World Cup title.

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  • Giles delighted with Morgan's decision to stay on as England captain Giles delighted with Morgan's decision to stay on as England captain

    Ashely Giles is thrilled Eoin Morgan elected to stay on as ODI captain following England's triumphant Cricket World Cup campaign.

    Morgan led England to their maiden success in a 50-over World Cup in July, with the final settled in dramatic fashion at Lord's – the tournament hosts edging out New Zealand in a super over.

    Following the tournament, the 33-year-old suggested he was undecided as to whether he should stay on as captain of the limited-overs side.

    However, the ECB confirmed on Friday that Morgan would remain in charge and Giles is delighted with the batsman's decision with England now having the T20 World Cup in their sights.

    "Eoin took some time to decide whether, all things considered, it was right to continue," Giles told Sky Sports.

    "It didn't take him too long, thankfully. I'm delighted, he's been a great leader for us and with us losing [coach] Trevor Bayliss as well it's great for the team and the environment that he's staying on.

    "Having one of those two guys still there gives us consistency and now we can look to perhaps go with the team we've got and to hold two white-ball trophies within a year would be a great achievement."

    Bayliss called time on his tenure as England coach across all formats at the end of the Ashes series, but Giles is confident a replacement will be finalised within the coming weeks.

    "I see one coach leading the whole thing. I've been part of a set-up where there are two coaches and role-playing that out, for me, it doesn't end particularly well," Giles told BBC Sport.

    "If we have one head coach and some very good assistants, we are going to have to look after those guys well. The head coach would have some time off, so it's an opportunity for those assistants to lead in different forms.

    "I hope we have a shortlist in a week to 10 days and we will go through interviews. We won't rush it but it would be nice to have someone in place before we leave for New Zealand."

    Giles also added Alex Hales – who was dropped ahead of the World Cup due to an "off-field incident" – should not give up hope of returning to the fold despite not being given a central contract.

    "The door isn't closed. He's a very fine short-format player," Giles said. "He needs to keep working hard and getting the runs - but if he does that, who knows?"

  • Kohli moves top of T20 list as India ease to victory over South Africa Kohli moves top of T20 list as India ease to victory over South Africa

    Captain Virat Kohli led from the front with an unbeaten 72 as India eased to a seven-wicket win over South Africa in the second match of their T20I series.

    After Sunday's opener in Dharamsala was washed out, the home team did well with the ball to restrict the Proteas to 149-5, Quinton de Kock top-scoring with 52.

    Not for the first time in his career, Kohli timed the chase superbly, keeping the run-rate under control before accelerating late on to see his team cruise over the line in Mohali with six balls to spare.

    His 22nd score of 50 or more for India in the T20 format saw him move past team-mate Rohit Sharma, who made 12 before he was trapped lbw by Andile Phehlukwayo, atop the list of leading run-scorers at international level.

    Shikhar Dhawan contributed 40 before falling to a sensational catch in the deep by David Miller, the fielder at long on motoring to his right before clinging onto the ball with one hand as he put in a full-length dive.

    Still, the stunning piece of fielding, plus the dismissal Rishabh Pant (4), failed to inspire South Africa, with the masterful Kohli, whose innings spanned 52 deliveries, seeing India to their target. 

    Visiting skipper De Kock had earlier hit eight boundaries in a 37-ball knock that was ended by a fine running catch by his opposite number, leaving the score at 88-2.

    Temba Bavuma marked his international T20 bow with 49, but South Africa's middle order struggled to up the tempo in the second half of their innings.

    Deepak Chahar removed the well-set Bavuma as he finished with impressive figures of 2-22, while Miller (18) was bowled by Hardik Pandya with the first ball of the 19th over.

    Dwaine Pretorius and Phehlukwayo both hit huge sixes in the closing stages, but South Africa’s total always looked to be under par. They will now aim to draw the series when the teams meet again on Sunday, this time in Bangalore.

  • Kohli addresses Dhoni retirement rumours, insists tweet was misinterpreted Kohli addresses Dhoni retirement rumours, insists tweet was misinterpreted

    Virat Kohli says he has learned a lesson after sending a tweet about MS Dhoni that significantly heightened speculation the wicketkeeper-batsman was about to retire.

    Kohli shared a photo of himself and Dhoni from a 2016 World Twenty20 victory over Australia on Thursday, adding the caption: "A game I can never forget. Special night. This man made me run like in a fitness test."

    The post prompted a frenzied reaction on social media, with many Indian cricket fans and news outlets questioning whether a retirement announcement was imminent from Dhoni, who is not part of India's squad for the Twenty20 series with South Africa that starts on Sunday.

    Addressing reporters on the eve of the first T20 against South Africa, India's skipper insisted he had not intended to cause such a stir.

    "I didn't have anything on my mind," Kohli was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

    "I was sitting at home and posted that photo normally. That became news and it's a lesson for me, that what I intend when I do something isn't how the world perceives it.

    "I didn't even have the remotest idea that I should think about it before putting up that picture.

    "Like I tweeted, I get memories of that game and I haven't talked about it before. So I thought I'll do a post about it and people inferred something else about it."

    The future of Dhoni, 38, remains unclear. After featuring in the Cricket World Cup, he reportedly took a two-month sabbatical to spend time with his paramilitary regiment in the Territorial Army. 

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