‘My name is only used to promote the T20 game but…’: Virat Kohli’s response to critics

"My name is only used to promote the T20 game, but...": Virat Kohli's response to critics

Virat Kohli was named player of the match against PBKS© BCCI/Sportzpics

After a small setback during Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s first match in Indian Premier League (IPL) 204, Virat Kohli is back where it belongs. The same guile and class that Kohli is known to exude was on display once again when he recorded his 100th T20 score in over fifty, becoming the first Indian and overall third player to do so, during a match against the Punjab Kings on Monday. He scored 77 runs in 49 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes. He scored his runs with a strike rate of over 157. RCB beat PBKS by four wickets and Kohli played a major role.

Kohli, who took a two-month paternity break, did not forget to mention that whether it is cricket in the Olympic schedule or the T20 World Cup in the United States, he is ‘The Face’.

In 378 T20 appearances, Virat has scored 12,092 runs at an average of 41.26, with eight centuries and 92 fifties. His best score is 122*. Virat is India’s top run-getter in T20 and sixth overall. Kohli’s scintillating 77 came amid talks that the former Indian cricket team captain might not be picked for the T20 World Cup.

After getting the Orange Cap, Kohli opened up about his form. “[To the crowd] Don’t get overexcited, it’s only two games. I know what this (orange cap) means. [Love story with the crowd] This has been going on for years. People talk a lot about practicing this sport. In the end, we don’t talk about achievements, statistics or numbers but about memories. It’s what Rahul Dravid said. The friendship, love, appreciation and support has been incredible and that is what you will miss and never forget,” he said.

He then added that he still has the courage to play in the shortest format.

“In T20, I open, I try to give the team a flying start. But when the wickets start falling, you also have to understand the conditions. The wicket was not as placid as usual here. It was a bit two-paced. I had to play some decent cricket shots, I couldn’t hit the balls across the line. I tried a few, I felt like I Needed some big shots at the other end which didn’t happen as Maxi and Anuj came out quickly. Disappointed not to get “I finished it. It was a slot ball that I cut straight to deep point. Not bad, even though I played after two months and participated in the tournament,” he said.

“I had to do it, the bowlers know that I play the cover drive quite well. So they won’t allow me to hit gaps. Guys like KG and Arshdeep, if they are batting length, you have to build momentum, once you get closer to the ball, you cancel the bounce. You have to come up with a game plan and try to keep improving. I know my name is often used to just promote the T20 game across the world when it comes to T20 cricket these days, but I still got it. I guess.”

Although players’ places in the T20 squad are set based on the IPL 2024 campaign, a report claims that the chief selector Ajit Agarkar was tasked with “convincing” Virat to make room for youngsters in the team.

According to a report in The Telegraph, Virat was briefed by Agarkar about the need to change his approach. The conversation prompted Kohli to bat more aggressively in the T20Is against Afghanistan but could only register a highest score of 29 in a match.

The report further claims that the selectors are of the view that West Indies’ slow wickets would not suit Kohli’s natural game as a batter. Therefore, the selection committee evaluated its options for the flagship event.

With PTI and ANI inputs

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