Former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull seemed to have found an answer to the big Virat Kohli riddle that has been worrying Team India of late.


After initial doubts about his place in India's squad for the forthcoming T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the US, Virat Kohli has reportedly done enough to convince the national selectors to be on the flight to the Caribbean. 


According to media outlet Cricbuzz, Virat Kohli is a certainty in the Rohit Sharma-led team, considering the Delhi-born cricketer's dazzling form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) for his franchise Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB).


With 319 runs in six matches in the 2024 IPL, Virat Kohli has lit up the prestigious T20 tournament. Among his runs are two majestic fifties and a record-extending eighth hundred in the tournament.


He suffered a rare failure in the cash-rich league against the Mumbai Indians (MI) on Thursday as Jasprit Bumrah came up with a record-breaking display against Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB).


In the high-octane encounter between Mumbai Indians and the RCB at home, the Team India pace spearhead produced one of his best bowling displays, finishing with outstanding figures of 5/21 in his four overs to torment Faf du Plessis and his men after Hardik Pandya won the toss and chose to field first. 


Right from the beginning, Jasprit Bumrah was on the button, troubling the 2024 IPL's leading run-scorer Virat Kohli as he choked him for runs. With runs hard to come by due to Jasprit Bumrah's immaculate line and length, the former RCB captain eventually got out for 3 off 9 balls as the Mumbai Indians star delivered a big blow to the visitors. 


Earlier in the competition, Virat Kohli became the first player to score more than 7500 runs in the IPL. His run tally for the RCB in the IPL now stands at 7582 runs.


In addition to that, the Delhi-born cricketer has made 424 runs for the Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the now-defunct Champions League T20 tournament. Across the two events, Virat Kohli has scored 8006 runs for the RCB, making him the first player to compile that many runs for a single team in the T20 format.


Against this backdrop, Simon Doull suggested that Virat Kohli should open the innings alongside Rohit Sharma in the T20 World Cup. The Delhi-born cricketer usually bats at the No.3 position for Team India and his elevation would be a major change for the Rohit Sharma-led side.

“I think Virat should open…100 percent. I don't think he should bat at number three, because if he does, then Rinku Singh will miss out. And in my India starting XI, Rinku has to play. Therefore, Virat's got to open the batting. Now who he opens with, up to you. If it is Rohit Sharma or Jaiswal. But Kohli has to open, because in the modern game that is his best position. He hits the quick bowlers as good as anyone and he times the ball beautifully. Coming in and starting against spin is not his best option,” Simon Doull told Cricbuzz. 

However, Simon Doull is not the first cricketer to back Virat Kohli to succeed as an opener. Before him, West Indies legend Brian Lara spoke in favor of the 35-year-old as Team India's new opener in the 20-over format.


“The strike-rate depends on position, and for an opener strike-rate of 130-140 is pretty alright. But if you are coming in the middle-order then you may be required to hit at 150 or 160. As you have seen in this IPL, batsmen are hitting at 200 in the latter part of an innings,” Brian Lara told Star Sports.


“But an opener like Kohli always has the chance of starting at 130, bat through the overs and finish at 160 or even higher, which is alright. But if you ask me, India's top three in the World Cup should be Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill irrespective of all these. And for RCB, it should not be about one person, as it has to be a team effort,” he added.


“I think Rohit and Virat going as openers to the West Indies (for WC) will serve India very well. Though, I think that you should have some youthful punch in the opening. One of the younger players, showing their mettle, and having one of those experienced players shepherd the innings in the middle-order,” Brian Lara summed up.