From Rohit Sharma to Babar Azam: How cricket fraternity has reacted to Virat Kohli's poor form
As Virat Kohli's form continues to remain a cause of concern for Team India, here's how world cricket has reacted to the former Indian captain's lean patch:
1) Rohit backs under-fire Kohli
After the England T20Is, on July 10, Rohit told reporters, "here will always be ups and downs in the cricketer’s form but players’ quality will never fade away.) We should always keep this in mind that there is a quality in certain players and we as a team back that quality."
Following India's defeat to England in the 2nd ODI, Hitman once again questioned the consistent talk around Kohli's form and told a journalist, "Why is it happening, I do not understand? Someone who has made so many runs is being questioned over his form. I don't understand this."
Rohit added, "Virat Kohli is such a great batsman. He has been playing for so many years and he has won so many matches for the team. He doesn't need any reassurance. You can see quality of player, form ups & down in everyone's career. Look at how many runs he has scored & centuries scored. Look at his averages. He won many matches for India. He is great Batsman."
2) Kapil Dev on Virat Kohli
India's 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil told ABP News recently, "Play in-form players when you have loads of options. You can't just go by reputation, but you have to look for current form. You can be an established player but that doesn't mean that you will be given chances even if you fail five games in a row. If world No. 2 Test bowler Ashwin can be dropped from Test side then your No. 1 batter can also be dropped."
His comments created quite a stir in world cricket. Former Indian selector Sarandeep Singh also reacted and told Times Now, "What are the selectors doing to understand where is his batting going wrong? He shouldn't be dropped. Everybody knows his capabilities and his potential. He can single-handedly win you World Cups."
He also opined on selectors' call of resting Kohli for the upcoming WI ODIs and stated, "Why is he being given rest then? What is this illogical way of selecting players? He plays one series then rest and then he plays another series. Make him play if he is not performing, that's the only way for him coming back to form."
Kapil once again discussed Kohli on the same news channel after the former Indian skipper was rested for the West Indies T20Is, in the Caribbean island, during the squad announcement on Thursday (July 14). "I can't say a big player like Virat Kohli should be dropped. He is a very big player. If you have said that he has been rested to give him respect then there's no harm in that," he opined.
3) BCCI chief on Virat's barren run
BCCI chief also opened up on Virat's barren run and told ANI, "Of course, look at the numbers he has got in international cricket that doesn’t happen without ability and quality. Yes, he has had a tough time and he knows that. He has been a great player himself. He himself knows by his own standards it has not been good and I see him coming back and doing well. But he has got to find his way and become successful, which he has been for the last 12-13 years or more and only Virat Kohli can do that."
He added, "These things will happen in sport. It has happened to everybody. It has happened to Sachin, It has happened to Rahul, it has happened to me, it has happened to Kohli. It is going to happen to future players. That’s part and parcel of sport and I think as a sportsman you just need to listen, be aware of what it is and just go and play your game."
4) Ashish Nehra on Kohli
Former India pacer Ashish Nehra told Sony Sports during India-England 2nd ODI, "I will say one match is left after this, you are not going to the West Indies, and you probably need this break as well. I will say the three-four weeks in between, take a backseat and think about what you need to do in the future and then come back."
Earlier, Nehra had told during a virtual interaction organised by Sony, "There will be discussions even if you're not a player of Kohli's calibre. When you are playing, you try to focus on your game and not listen to so-called 'outside voices' from people outside the dressing room. It's important how your teammates, management and selectors are backing you... but we are talking about a guy like Virat. Yes, it's not written anywhere that he will keep playing for India even if he doesn't score runs. But when you have done so much in the past, you will always get extra chances."
“Everybody knows his accomplishments and the talent he has. At the age of 33, fitness isn't a problem for him. Everybody is hopeful that Virat will come good, the quicker the better. Let's hope we see a different Virat after the West Indies series. If he rests for a month or five odd weeks, it will be helpful for him," he had added.
5) Wasim Jaffer on Virat Kohli
Wasim Jaffer joined the bandwagon and commented on Kohli's run after his dismissal in the 2nd ODI versus England, which India lost by 100 runs at Lord's.
"Virat Kohli again looked good, but teams will keep bowling there (outside off stump) all the time. He needs to understand that, especially at those lengths where he can’t get run off. Anything short, he can dab it to the third man. Anything full is fine as well. But he needs to understand which deliveries he must leave," Jaffer said on ESPNCricinfo.
"Today (Thursday) was the day. There was no pressure of the run rate. The wicket was pretty good as he was batting in the second half. He started really well, but that’s been the case for almost the two years that he hasn’t scored a hundred. Teams are going to target those fifth and sixth stumps. He needs to find a way," stressed the former Indian opener.
6) Aakash Chopra, Michael Vaughan on Kohli's form
Disappointed with Kohli's show at Lord's, on Thursday, former Indian opener Aakash Chopra said on his Youtube channel, "The big news is that Virat Kohli played, hit three amazing drives as well – a cover drive, a straight drive and an on the drive. That was fantastic, but after that got out to an away-going delivery. The bad time is not ending, unfortunately."
Meanwhile, Vaughan highlighted on Cricbuzz, "I watch Virat and every time he bats, he looks fine. Then he just surprises you when he gets out. It is not something that I see in his movement or technique that is a flaw, he is just making the odd mistake, probably concentration."
7) Babar on Kohli
After Thursday's game, Pakistan captain Babar Azam also reacted to Kohli's indifferent run with the bat. Firstly, he tweeted in Kohli's support saying, "his too shall pass. Stay strong. #ViratKohli" from his official Twitter account.
Later, ahead of Pakistan's Test series versus Sri Lanka, on Friday (July 15), Babar added on Kohli's form. He said, "As a player myself, I know you can go through such a phase (out of form) and I also know what a player goes through in such a phase. In those times, you need support. I just tweeted thinking that it will give just some support. He is one of the best players."
While Babar, Md Rizwan, etc. have supported Kohli, former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria lashed out at the Indian selectors and team management for persisting with the star batter. He wrote on Koo app, "When world class off spinner Ashwin can be dropped then why not Virat where is Deepak Hooda why the selection committee and management playing with carriers of Indian talented cricketers. Who is the person playing Ludo with Indian and fans of Indian team, Arshdeep, Deepak Hooda and Surya needs to give them full confidence they are back bone of Indian Cricket."