London: The burden on Virat Kohli’s shoulder is certain to increase a bit in the absence of injured Shikhar Dhawan when India take on New Zealand in their third match of ICC World Cup 2019 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on Thursday.
Dhawan, certain to miss India’s next two games against New Zealand and Pakistan because of a hairline fracture, would force India to tinker with their settled batting line-up. KL Rahul is set to open with Rohit Sharma, leaving a big void at No.4 yet again.
The side effect of that is added pressure on India captain and designated No. 3 Virat Kohli, who looked in fine touch against Australia on Sunday, scoring an 82.
Pressure, however, is something which Kohli thrives on and if anything he would relish this opportunity to test himself and the fragile Indian middle order against one of the most potent pace attacks of the world comprising Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry.
Added motivation for Kohli, not that he needs them, is the fact that he is on the verge of another world record. Kohli is just 57 runs away from becoming the fastest to 11000 ODI runs.
Kohli, who already holds the record for being the fastest to 10000 ODI runs, currently has 10943 runs in 221 innings. If he manages to score 57 more runs against New Zealand on Thursday then he will also become the first to take less than 11 years to complete the feat.
Kohli will also become only the third Indian and ninth cricketer in the world to get to 11000 ODI runs. The other two Indians to achieve the feat are Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.
Kohli has every chance of climbing to the 8th spot in all-time ODI run scorers’ chart toppling Ganguly, who has 11363 runs to his name, if he has a good World Cup. The Indian captain has another small milestone in front of him. He is one century away from equalling Virender Sehwag and Ricky Ponting’s record for most centuries against New Zealand. Both Sehwag and Ponting have six centuries to their name while Kohli has five.