Inexperienced bowling line-up and feeble middle-order among the challenges Virat Kohli is to face

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India’s tour of Zimbabwe is Virat Kohli’s biggest challenge in his career as he leads Team India in the absence of regular captain M S Dhoni, who has been rested for the tournament. Though Kohli displayed signs of tactical brilliance as a skipper by getting India into the final of the tri-series in the Caribbean after two defeats had put India at the brink of an early exit, it can’t be denied that the triumph was solely due to Dhoni’s heroics in the final. With no Dhoni in the team, Kohli’s task is cut out and he will have to lead an inexperienced Indian team from the front. Here’s a look at some of the challenges that await Kohli in Zimbabwe.
Inexperienced bowling attack: In the absence of experienced fast bowler Ishant Sharma and new swing sensation Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Vinay Kumar with 23 ODIs to his name is the most experienced speedster in the Indian team. Shami Ahmed comes next with 6 ODIs, while Jaydev Unadkat and Mohit Sharma are yet to make their debut in ODIs. Kohli will have to guide them in the company of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s teammate strike bowler Vinay Kumar. Kohli will have to be extra cautious during the death overs as India bleeds runs during that phase.
A feeble middle-order: With selectors resting M S Dhoni along with some othet key players for the series, the task of taking the lead if India bats first or chasing a big total rests on the experienced Suresh Raina. He will have with him Cheteshwar Pujara (yet to make his ODI debut), Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja who are yet to win games for India with their batting skills alone. Kohli would do well to bat at no 4 as he can guide the inexperienced players to bat for the larger cause of team. Dhoni will be missed, but it also gives an opportunity for others to raise their hands and be counted.
Inexperienced leadership: Despite a good show as a captain recently in the tri-series, Kohli would do well take a leaf out of Dhoni’s book as a skipper. Kohli might have to tone down his aggression and on-the-face attitude for the welfare of the team. Dhoni’s calm outlook rubbed off on his teammates as a direct consequence of which India was able to weedle out of many tricky situations. Dhoni's composure is something that Kohli would like to emulate and learn from.
Taking opposition lightly: Zimbabwe is no South Africa or England, but it is a competitive team that can spring a couple of surprises. Kohli and co. should not take the opposition lightly lest it proves disastrous for them. History has numerous instances of underdogs stunning favourites, with India being on the wrong side of it on more than couple of times. Remember India’s narrow loss against Zimbabwe in 1999 World Cup.

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