500 in ODIs? Kohli says Morgan’s England could get there first
England could be the first team to score 500 runs in ODIs, India captain Virat Kohli said in jest as captains could not agree on the scoring trends in what is expected to be a high-scoring World Cup.
With 481 for six against Australia last year, England already holds the record for the highest ODI total. In its build to the World Cup, it outplayed Pakistan 4-0 in a high-scoring series.
At the captains’ media interaction ahead of the mega event, Kohli was asked if the 500-run mark could be breached in this edition.
“I was just going to say it really depends on these guys. They seem to be obsessed with getting to 500 before anyone else,” said Kohli, pointing to his English counterpart Eoin Morgan, sitting next to him.
Kohli conceded that the tournament will see a run-fest, but the pressure of playing in a World Cup will make even 260-270 hard to chase.
“It is going to be a high-scoring tournament, but back home too I said 260-270 will also will be as tough to get in a World Cup as chasing 370-380. I don’t see many high-scoring games in the latter stages of the tournament, initially some teams might get on a roll, but later on you will see 250 defended as well. That is the kind of pressure the World Cup brings.”
The Indian skipper expects teams to be more cautious as the tournament progresses. “Not all the teams are going to be in a great position (in the latter half). The ones who have to make sure that they get the result are going to be under pressure to chase even a small total. The fact that you are going to be close to a knock out berth will get you under pressure in the latter stages and all teams recognise that.
“Then you will not see many teams going gung-ho from ball one. Generally both teams would like to start in a balanced way and look to capitalise on the moments. So I see pressure being a massive factor in the World Cup.”
The same question was posed to Australian captain Aaron Finch, who was also part of the 2015 World Cup winning squad.
“If you see the last couple of years, trajectory of scores has been going up and up in England. We have been at the receiving end of the highest one. I don’t want to put a number one it. Hard to tell (what could be the highest-score in the tournament).
“On small grounds with good pitches, if the top order gets going, the teams are so explosive these days and if they keep going till the end it (the total) could be anything.”
Finch picked India and England as the teams to watch out though he said it would be a highly competitive tournament with all teams playing each other at least once. Kohli also agreed with Finch that England are going into the World Cup as the “strongest” side.
The marquee clash of the mega event will be on June 16 when India takes on Pakistan at Old Trafford.
That question was always coming and when it came, Kohli and Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed were asked how they will approach the high-pressure game.
“Look, India-Pakistan is always a very, very anticipated match but we keep saying that again and again. If you ask the players, it is very different from how the fans look at the game. Yes, you feel the anticipation and excitement of the fans when you enter the stadium but as soon as you step on the field, it is very professional.
“For us, it is just another game you need to win as a team. Yes, it brings pressure because the atmosphere in the stadium is very different. As soon as you get into it, it is a game of cricket for all of us,” said Kohli while Sarfaraz nodded in agreement.
Archer, the X-factor
Kohli hailed England all-rounder Jofra Archer’s performances in the lead-up to the Cup, labelling him the host’s “X-factor”.
“He (Archer) holds a skill-set that’s very different from anyone else. He can generate a lot of pace, which can be intimidating. You don’t really expect that because of his run-up.
“The way he’s come about in the IPL the last couple of years I’ve seen him, there’s good reason why he was fast-tracked into playing for England in a tournament like the World Cup,” said Kohli.
The 24-year-old, who made his ODI debut recently, had said in an interview that “I’d like to get Virat Kohli out because I wasn’t able to in the IPL.”
“Did he say that? I had no idea – that’s news to me,” said Kohli when asked about it.
“My answer is the same. I don’t need to add,” said the Pakistan skipper.
While many expect a bagful of runs in the World Cup, bowlers are bound to come into play at some point, said New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson.
“We have spoken about the batting but equally important is the bowling. I have no doubt that there will be venues who will be more suited to the bowlers. We will have to find a way to play well in all conditions,” said Williamson.