October 9, 2011

Kohli and Warner prove T20's got class

The two have shown the format is no longer a hit-and-giggle fest. We can look forward to seeing them face each other in longer versions of the game

This year's Champions League has been by far the best of the three played. It has not only enhanced the reputation of the tournament but also of Twenty20 in general and that of a couple of talented young batsmen. Any game where one player scores a century and another produces a five-wicket haul and they end up on the losing side has to be chock full of cricketing skills and extremely competitive. In the end it's the quality of the contest that decides the future of a game.

The knockout game between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and South Australia had everything you could want in a cricket match, right down to a last-ball six sealing the win.

There have been times when the naysayers have argued the entertainment quotient at a T20 match overshadows the game. That is not an accusation cricket should take lightly, as the dancing girls and DJs will always find another venue to ply their trade, but it is not a criticism that applies to this tournament. In addition to the nailbiting contests, the Champions League has produced some incredible individual performances.

Considering every sport needs a constant influx of youthful talent, the exceptional batting of David Warner and Virat Kohli has been a very pleasing aspect of the Champions League. Both India and Australia need to rebuild following devastating losses to England, and these two stand out as players for the future. The first thing selectors look for in a young cricketer is skill, and then they want to see consistent performances.

The latest back-to-back efforts of Warner and Kohli have been impressive. In scoring consecutive T20 centuries Warner has achieved something that was regarded as nearly impossible. Having built his international reputation as a hard-hitting T20 batsman, he has matured into a highly skilful player who must be given serious consideration for Australian selection in all forms of the game. His balance as a batsman is such that he has been able to adapt his play to all circumstances, and his stroke range is mostly traditional and now becoming more selective. In addition, his fielding is outstanding, and at a time when Australia are crying out for young batsmen who are not a liability in the field, Warner's credentials are tempting.

Kohli has a lot in common with Warner. He has made his reputation in the shorter forms of the game and has an enticing stroke range. The fact that he took the Royal Challengers into the final after falling just short of being the finisher in his previous knock is a sign of his maturity.

Like Australia, India need talented young batsmen who can field. Kohli fits that description perfectly and he's making all the right moves to impress knowledgeable selectors. It would be no surprise to see this pair meet up as opponents again in the near future, only this time while representing their respective countries and in a longer form of the game. If players like Warner and Kohli can make the jump from short-form players to genuine international cricketers, it will do even more to enhance the reputation of T20 as a bonafide game rather than just excellent entertainment.

T20 is evolving quickly and some of the innovations seen in the batting, bowling and fielding make for exciting cricket. What is patently clear when you witness a number of exciting contests like we've seen in the Champions League is that the game has progressed to the point where it no longer needs gimmicks to attract supporters. The duty of the officials now is to ensure that T20's reputation as credible cricket is enhanced rather than diminished. It has become obvious that played well, T20 is an exciting game of cricket, rather than just another way to enjoy a night on the town.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

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  • G on October 12, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    Might have helped Warner and Kohli playing on a road, and also apparently the atmospheric conditions in Bangalor are more conducive to big hitting, the ball travels further. Let's see them dig themselves into their foxhole and bat 10 hours, then we'll say they've got class. Great shot making, but all down to the pitch. If it's a slow low turner, we just get to watch one batsman after the other come out swinging their bat all over the place before they get frustrated and go for one they shouldn't. t20 is entertainment but nothing more than that.

  • Sarav on October 11, 2011, 21:37 GMT

    @crikbuff, right said, especially the way last few articles of Harsha & Ian articulated, I really doubt it. @RandyOZ, are you sure about what you're talking check out his ODI performance for last 2 yrs & come back. And, if you're talking about Test, sorry mate, he has just started getting chances.

  • Dummy4 on October 11, 2011, 20:00 GMT

    I did not expect Kohli to score at the rate he did! Warner - you come to expect this from him. Kohli has the technique to succeed at the test level - but he needs more time to focus on his test skills. One can make the judgment only after he performs in testing conditions. With his test results so far - we can't make that conclusion! One for the future - sure! Is he there yet ? - No!

  • Moses on October 11, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    Warner & Kohli are perfect examples of how T20 can fool people into thinking that class belongs here. These 2 and the likes of Raina, Pathan, White can never make it big in test cricket. The so called 'experts' should stop fooling cricket fans. Chappell wants to join Gavaskar, Shastri and Bhogle in the "League of Zero Credibility"!

  • Rizwan on October 11, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    We don't need Ian Chappell or any other columnist to convince us that T20 got class, we spectators can decide that by ourselves. This format is batsman's paradise, just when the balance of this game is tilted slightly in the right direction(test cricket) these class players suddenly become so pathetic; superheroes with heavy bats, field restrictions, free-hits, all-rounders for strike bowlers, shorter boundaries, featherbeds for pitch.... It will be interesting to see if any of the less recognized domestic or club level T20 players become established cricketers in the longer format of the game & international level. We'll probably have to wait 5 or 6 years to see if T20 brings new set of skills considered useful to this game.

  • david on October 11, 2011, 10:53 GMT

    a good test player can make a good T20 player, because he has had the grooming of the longer game. warner as a test player im not sure, has he earned the place in his state side yet ? . he is not a slogger by nature but can slog the ball his hitting is very good and and his ground shots can be very crisp. perhaps hes the exception to the rule.dpk

  • Randolph on October 11, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    Kohli is rubbish, an ipl lackie in the mould of Malinga. Does not care about playing for India at all

  • Matthew on October 11, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    Hyclass, on cricinfo it says Warner's first class avg is about 53. What is the 36 you mention? He's scored 2 centuries and 2 half centuries in 15 innings which is not bad. Obviously he hasn't played a lot of first class cricket and I think it would be wise for selectors to see that he does if he's seen as a potential future test player. I don't think Chappelli is saying Warner should be in the Test squad now, just that he should be seen as more than a T20 prospect. He said in a recent interview that NSW should have been opening with Warner in Sheffield Shield ages ago. Obviously some people will agree and some won't, I just think Ian's article is being misinterpreted by a few people.

  • John on October 10, 2011, 21:20 GMT

    Warner got the edge on Kohli from what I saw. Warner scored 2 unbeaten centuries and sure it's only 20 over cricket but to do that 2 matches running. He was playing proper cricket shots and hardly played a false shot and looked very controlled at the crease. I'd have fancied him to keep his form during the final too as he seemed to be able to pace his innings very well

  • Piyush on October 10, 2011, 14:48 GMT

    Any format can throw up exciting match, we have had nail biting ODIs as well as some exciting Test Match finish, same is for T20, what if the last ball 6 was not hit, this match would have lost most of the fizzz. All batsmen no matter who are comfortable batting in flat conditions and then those who grew up on green fields are more comfortable there in comaprision to the turners and vice versa.

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