Reflecting on India skipper Virat Kohli’s unusual decision to bat first in the tied second one-dayer against the West Indies in Visakhapatnam, pace bowling great Ian Bishop said the ploy was to test his team with just a handful of ODIs to go before the 2019 ICC World Cup in England and Wales.
“I can’t really think of any other reason as to why Kohli despite knowing history would do what he did. So, I think he wanted to test his team somehow,” said Bishop, an expert in Star Sports’ Counter Point discussion.
Bishop also conceded that the partnership between the Windies duo of Shiron Hetmyer and Shai Hope in the second ODI, that denied India an easy 2-0 lead in the five-match rubber, was inspired by the one between Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the first ODI.
“I agree. His message is quite clear, and the West Indies guys were saying he is a great player, and if I want to be a great player too, this is what I have to do,” he said.
Hope (123 not out off 134 balls) and Hetmyer (94 off 64) shared a brilliant 143-run fourth wicket stand to not only rebuild the West Indian innings but also bring the visitors within sniffing distance of the massive target of 322.
Eventually, the West Indians ended up on a morale-boosting 321, denying the hosts an opportunity to take a 2-0 lead.
The two sides will now face off on Saturday in the third ODI at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here.