Shahid Afridi gives priceless reaction to Virat Kohli question
At a time when Virat Kohli’s form has been one of the biggest topics of debate in the cricketing world, both Indian and foreign players continue to share their views on his struggles on the pitch. Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi too was asked about the ex-India captain’s wretched run with the bat. However, unlike other cricket stars, Shahid Afridi was blunt in his response to a question on Virat Kohli.
“Why would he care about my advice? He has to perform because the expectations from him are so high from Virat. And for a very long time, there has been no performance from him according to the standards that he has set for himself,” Shahid Afridi said in an interaction with journalists in a video posted by Sports Paktv.
The talismanic India batter has been going through an extended dry spell with the bat. During the recent tour of England, the former India captain managed to score just 76 runs in his six outings in a Test match, and two ODIs and T20Is each.
While he perished at scores of 11 and 20 in the rescheduled fifth and final Test against the Three Lions in Edgbaston, Virat Kohli was dismissed for 1 and 11 in the T20I games in Birmingham and Trent Bridge.
Though he missed the first clash of the ODI series because of a groin injury, he didn’t succeed in changing his fortunes in the remaining two 50-over matches as he registered a total of 33 runs, making 16 and 17 at the Lord’s and Old Trafford respectively.
Before that Virat Kohli had a horror run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as he could score only 341 runs at a mediocre average of 22.73 in 16 games in the tournament.
Virat Kohli last made a century in any form of international cricket in the historic Pink-ball Test against Bangladesh in November 2019.
Since then, he has gone 78 consecutive knocks without a three-figure score on the international stage.
After his flop show in England, Virat Kohli was rested from the tour of the Caribbean, consisting of three ODIs and five T20Is.
Subsequently, the BCCI decided to give him a break from next month’s tour of Zimbabwe, raising more concerns about captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid’s plans for Virat Kohli.
Shahid Afridi was also asked to speak his mind on two upcoming India-Pakistan encounters in the Asia Cup in the UAE and the T20 World Cup in Australia. While the former Pakistan captain didn’t say anything about Team India, he did warn Babar Azam and his boys.
“As far as Pakistan team is concerned, it is a balanced side. I hope that not only in Asia Cup, but even in the World Cup, our performances will be good. I hope the players are fit, because I don’t see much strength on the bench. But the 11-12 first-team players that we have, they are very strong and I hope they will bring in good results,” Shahid Afridi said.
Meanwhile, Australia legend Adam Gilchrist threw his weight behind Virat Kohli, saying that the former India skipper should be written off at least just yet.
“It will be dangerous to cut Virat off at the moment. He is, maybe, a break away from freshening up. He has such vast experience. He has set a high standard for a long time, so we are judging against a great player,” Adam Gilchrist said in a conversation with reporters in Mumbai.
Earlier Gilchrist’s former Australia teammate Ricky Ponting had backed Virat Kohli to regain his lost touch soon.
“I think if I was an opposition captain or an opposition player, I will be fearing playing an Indian team that has Virat Kohli in it, more than I would be one that doesn’t have him in it,” the 47-year-old Australia great told Sanjana Ganeshan on the ICC Review.
“I know there have been some challenges for him, it’s been a difficult time. But every great player that I have seen in this game has been through it at some stage, whether that’s a batsman or a bowler, they have all been through it,” Ricky Ponting noted.
“And somehow, the best (players) find a way to rebound and respond, and it’s only a matter of time before Virat does that,” Ricky Ponting insisted.
“If I was India, I will keep pushing with him, because I know the upside. If they actually get him back confident and playing as well as he can, that upside is better than most. So I think if I was a captain or a coach around the Indian set up, I will be making life as easy as possible for him to feel as comfortable as possible, and just wait for him to flick the switch and start scoring runs again,” the three-time ODI World Cup winner for Australia explained.