Kohli wicket as important as playing spin if England are to beat India

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All of the talk in the build up to the first Test has related to England needing to play spin better if they are to get anything out of their series with India, but dismissing Virat Kohli could prove just as pivotal to their chances.

Kohli is 7/2 to be the top-scoring Indian batsman in the first Test and he has to be considered the best player in world cricket at present.

When allowed to play himself in, Kohli is more than a handful to get out and very rarely plays the wrong shot to cause his own dismissal.

In his last nine one-day games for India, Kohli has registered five centuries.

He bats slightly lower down the order in the Test arena, but whether he comes in at five or six, he must now be considered the most prized wicket in the Indian team, with VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid recently retired and Sachin Tendulkar not the force of old.

Kohli has made at least 50 in all of his last five Test innings on Indian soil, showing his competency on pitches short on bounce.

Meanwhile, he should be celebrating seven successive scores above 40 in any Test location if not for a run out against Australia when looking set for a big contribution on 22 earlier this year.

This is also his first Test series with England so he will be keen to display his credentials, but he does average in excess of 50 against them from 11 one-day innings.

India are 11/8 to win the first Test and this looks a reasonable price given that revenge will almost certainly be on their minds for a 4-0 whitewash on English soil in 2011.

Alternatively, the draw can be backed at 6/5, with England underdogs at 4/1 to take a 1-0 series lead at Ahmedabad.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.