Kohli has eyes set on T20 World Cup glory before stepping down as captain


Indian skipper Virat Kohli will be looking to go out with a bang as the T20 World Cup commences in less than 10 days.

Asian giants India will begin their campaign against arch rivals Pakistan on October 24.

Kohli will look to repeat India’s triumph in the inaugural tournament in 2007 with the then skipper M.S. Dhoni joining the team as mentor.

Swashbuckling opener Rohit Sharma is widely tipped to be Kohli’s successor and will be key to the team’s chances along with yorker king Jasprit Bumrah.

KL Rahul, meanwhile, hit the most sixes — 30 — in the Indian Premier League, which wraps up just before the T20 World Cup and which has allowed many stars the chance to get used to the UAE pitches.

England start in the tournament as narrow favourites to win the trophy. Not far behind though are an ever-lethal West Indies and World Test champions New Zealand — not to mention South Africa, Australia, former winners Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and fairytale outsiders Afghanistan.

Postponed and moved twice because of the pandemic, the tournament’s seventh edition kicks off on October 17 with Oman — joint hosts with the United Arab Emirates — taking on Papua New Guinea in a first qualifying round.

The top nations will join the event — played in stadiums 70% full — on October 23 with Australia and South Africa playing the opener of the Super 12 stage and England up against holders West Indies.

England, ranked as the world number one nation in T20 cricket, beat New Zealand to win the 50-over title at Lord’s in 2019 and victory in the shortest format’s showpiece event will further cement their white-ball dominance.

Morgan’s team will, however, be without Stokes and Jofra Archer, who played a key part in their one-day World Cup triumph, but vice-captain Jos Buttler insists the team is “certainly one of the favourite teams.”

“I know we are missing Ben and Jofra, who are two superstars of the game, but I still look down that list and see some real match-winners in our side.”