Virat Kohli will want to continue his good form for the rest of the series    AFP
Virat Kohli will want to continue his good form for the rest of the series AFP

After the bowlers put up an excellent show in the first One-Day International (ODI) Virat Kohli played a superb innings to ensure India did not face any major difficulties in chasing down a low target of 191. Kohli without a shadow of a doubt is one of the best players across formats, but when it comes to limited-overs, especially the 50-over format, he is a class apart. He will have to play a huge role in the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand, considering that the side at India s disposal is a relatively inexperienced/young side. Kohli with his experience will have to play a pivotal role if India are to win the series convincingly. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs New Zealand 1st ODI at Dharamsala

We have seen in the past that Kohli is phenomenal when it comes to chasing. While Kohli averages well over 50 with the bat in ODIs, while chasing, his average shoots up to 62. That is not just because Kohli does exceedingly well while chasing mammoth targets, but is also level headed when it comes to chasing low or moderate targets. An 81-ball 85 in the first ODI against New Zealand is a clear indication that Kohli does not hold back from going for his shots. A target of 191 is never going to be difficult to chase, but batsmen have different ways to approach it. One may go about things quietly initially and then start to explode once he gets his eye in. On the other hand, we have seen players like Virender Sehwag and Adam Gilchrist, who just go all out right from the first ball.

This is where Kohli is a tad different. He can change gears quickly and also at the same time keep the scoreboard ticking. More importantly, at no point whether he is batting on 10 or 100 will he throw his wicket away. This is something that a few players can learn from them. In the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, it was Ajinkya Rahane, who got a chance to open the innings with Rohit Sharma. This was a great opportunity for him to carry his bat through the innings and show his quality in ODIs. This was a perfect chance for someone like Rahane to start cementing his place in India s ODI side. He got off to a brilliant start, striking at run-a-ball before he chased a ball outside off, which eventually took the edge into the keeper s hands. There was no pressure on him whatsoever. He could have taken ones and twos and won India the game. He will be given more chances in the series, but had he carried on, he could have even gone on to score a century. It is heartbreaking to see a batsman of his calibre throw it away when set. READ: India vs New Zealand, 1st ODI at Dharamsala: Highlights

The same can be said about Rohit as well. He is a completely different player with his blue jersey. He has not reached his full potential in Tests, but when it comes to limited-overs, he is perhaps one of the best in the world. Rohit s promotion to the opening slot from the middle-order has done him wonders. His scores of 209 and 264 hold testimony to the extent of damage he can do once he gets his eye in. Opening the innings certainly has its own advantage and it is perfect for someone like Rohit, who likes a few sighters before he starts going for the big shots. Eight of his 10 tons have come when he has opened the innings for India. But, it is of no use, when you are not able to make the best use of the opportunity presented to you. Rohit hit a six and a four on his way to a 26-ball 14. While Rahane was going well at the other end, Rohit struggled to get his timing right. In the end, he played across the line and was trapped leg before.

Rohit too can take a leaf out of Kohli s book and look to knock the ball around and collect singles, in the initial stages. It is easily said than done, but singles or a quick two go a long way in relieving the pressure. With the likes of Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav and also Hardik Pandya still inexperienced, India s success or failure will depend on how the top three go about things. If fit, Suresh Raina can give the Indian middle-order much-needed stability. But the senior batsmen like Rohit, Rahane, Kohli and also skipper MS Dhoni will have to do the bulk of the work with the bat. READ: India win their 900th ODI and interesting numbers follow

It is not just about how you start your innings, but also how you end it. Kohli in the last 2-3 years has taken giant strides in international cricket and if a few players can take a cue from him as to how he goes about his things. With a fairly inexperienced side, it gives a golden chance for a few experienced players to pave the way for the younger players. Watching them play, may give them the confidence to get out in the middle and express themselves. We saw Pandya do extremely well on his ODI debut. India also have the likes of Mandeep Singh and Jayant Yadav, who are yet to play an ODI for India on the bench. They surely look up to players like Dhoni, Rahane, Rohit and Kohli and pick their brains once a while. Their advice surely will be crucial, but it will eventually come down to setting an example on the field for the younger lot in the dressing room to follow.

Before passing on wisdom to the younger players, it is important for the more experienced ones to lead from the front on the pitch. India may want to make a change or two after the third ODI, but the regulars in the Indian team will also be kept on their toes by the new faces. A slip-up here or there might see them see losing their place in the Indian side, which is something that happened to Raina and Yuvraj Singh over the years.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at He is a sports enthusiast and a keen observer of cricket, the contests, and its personalities. When not tracking cricket, he follows the world s soccer leagues and is somewhat partial towards Liverpool. His Twitter handle is @pramz)