Virat Kohli notched up his 71st international ton – his first ever in a T20 Internationals – after a gap of 1,020 days to help India end the Asia Cup 2022 with a crushing victory over Afghanistan. The star batter shrugged off his prolonged lean run to score two successive half-centuries and then an unbeaten 122 off 61 balls. His ton came while opening the innings, as skipper Rohit Sharma was rested for the dead rubber in the competition.
Recent T20Is suggest India have adopted an ultra-aggressive approach, with the top order not shying away from taking risks. But former national selector and wicketkeeper Saba Karim believes that Kohli doesn’t need to follow the template, as he can easily shift gears once he is set.
Against Afghanistan, Kohli put on an opening stand of 119 with KL Rahul, who made 62, to lay the foundation of the massive total. He started cautiously before hitting the bowlers to all parts of the ground. It was his third 50-plus score in the tournament, which serves as a tune-up to the T20 World Cup in October-November.
“Virat has the ability to up the ante even if he plays run-a-ball for the first few deliveries. So this is the right template for India where others bat around him and go for the big shots. You need a batter who adapts to the situation and controls the innings and among all the batters they have, Kohli is the most experienced in playing this way,” Karim told India News.
“We need to understand that we played good cricket before the Asia Cup with the current template and if we rectify a couple of mistakes that we made, we are good to go. No matter where he bats in the top order, Kohli will remain a threat to the opposition. So it is important for the management to preserve players like he, Rohit and Hardik so that they give their best in the T20 World Cup,” he added.
Former India player Reetinder Sodhi disagreed with Karim, as he believes Kohli needs to play every game in the lead-up to World T20. India will feature in the limited-overs series versus Australia and South Africa between September 20 and October 11 prior to the T20 showpiece event.
“I don’t think Virat Kohli will want a break because now he is in good form and would like to extend that against Australia. He is back among the runs and his feet are moving well so he would want to reach peak form by the time T20 World Cup begins,” explained Sodhi.
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