Virat Kohli’s string of low scores with the bat has led to the former India captain’s severe criticism from several quarters. While some have suggested he take a sabbatical from the sport, others have pointed out flaws in his batting technique. However, there are few, including former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif who have come out in his support. Rashid Latif went as far as to say that Virat Kohli was a modern-day legend and had the same kind of impact a Sachin Tendulkar or Don Bradman had on international cricket.
Rashid Latif also backed Virat Kohli to reverse his ongoing slump with the bat as he was confident that the star India batter would be back wowing the crowd with his dazzling displays soon.
Rashid Latif described Virat Kohli as one of the all-time greats of the game and vehemently opposed any suggestions that he was past his peak. According to the ex-Pakistan wicketkeeper, the cricketing fraternity will soon see Virat Kohli scoring hundreds again.
“I do believe he will come back. I have some hopes. World cricket needs him because of the way he plays. In this very match at Edgbaston, he went and picked up a fight. Pange lete hai full, kabhi Leach se le liya, kabhi Root se le liya (he has a habit of picking on opponent players, once he did that with Leach, then with Root),” Rashid Latif said on the YouTube channel ‘Caught Behind’.
Latif added, “So this is a positive sign that he will surely come back. Because he is a team man and he supports his players well, and the way he supports them, there is hope that he will come back.”
“These things happen in every player’s life. When he leaves cricket, his name will be at par with Sachin Tendulkar. Who knows it may be at par with Sir Don Bradman,” Rashid Latif concluded.
Former India pacer Zaheer Khan also chipped in with his thoughts on Virat Kohli’s lean patch across formats.
“Take any player for that matter and especially a player like Virat Kohli will surely be sad. Because he set a higher standard for himself. And the expectations that fans have for him…. Like we all know, who are the so-called fab four? Steve Smith, Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli. So, whenever somebody else scores, he is also being taken note of. Even if you are also saying that ‘see, Joe Root has scored, so Virat Kohli must also score.’ So, that’s how he is being compared,” Zaheer Khan said on Cricbuzz’s Youtube channel.
“Obviously, by his very own standards, he would like to come back to that form that we haven’t seen for some time. He was looking good in the second innings, he just got out to a very good ball.”
Joining them in this debate is former India captain Sunil Gavaskar who has noticed a major flaw in Virat Kohli’s batting technique which he said was the main reason behind his failures on the pitch.
“The trick to play in England is to play as late as possible. Then you are allowing the ball to do its bit and then you are playing the ball. From what little I saw in the highlights, it seemed Kohli was looking to reach for the ball, trying to play the ball early,” Sunil Gavaskar said on Sports Today.
“Therefore, he was not looking like he was in 2018 when he was looking to play it very late around the off-stump.”
“But the first mistake he is making is turning out to be his last mistake. Maybe he is not having the run of the luck at the moment. I think you obviously plan a little bit, visualize what the bowler is going to do the next day. Therefore, you can stay outside the crease but you can go with a pre-meditated plan of batting, which means the bowler has to bowl the same line you are expecting,” he added.
“If he doesn’t bowl in those lines, you are in trouble. Cricket is always about instinctive action. And while you are giving yourself just that extra bit of preparation by trying to understand the bowler’s strengths, at the end of the day, it’s an instinctive game,” Sunil Gavaskar summed up.
Virat Kohli wasn’t included in India’s playing XI in the first T20I against England in Southampton as the entire Test squad which competed against the Ben Stokes-led side stayed back in Birmingham where the second T20 match will be played on Saturday.
Virat Kohli is expected to be back in India’s playing XI for the second T20I against England in Birmingham.
India currently lead the three-match T20I series against the Three Lions 1-0, having beaten England at Southampton by 50 runs on Thursday.
Beginning this weekend, Virat Kohli would have five matches, two T20Is, and 3 ODIs to regain form because failures in these matches could put his spot in the limited-overs side, especially in the shortest format of the game under considerable strain.
He will not be a part of the Indian team that would depart to play three ODIs against the West Indies in the Caribbean as the BCCI has given him a break from the series.