Virat Kohli was dismissed for a duck in the 2nd ODI against South Africa. Photograph:( AFP )
Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has issued a warning to Virat Kohli after his flop show in the second ODI against South Africa on Friday.
Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has issued a warning to Virat Kohli after his flop show in the second ODI against South Africa on Friday (January 21). Kohli was dismissed for a five-ball duck as India lost the game by seven wickets to concede the three-match ODI series against the Proteas. With back-to-back wins in the first two games, South Africa have taken an unassailable lead and clinched the series.
Kohli, who has not been at his best with the willow for a while now, is currently undergoing a rough patch in his international career. From being the captain of the Indian team across all three formats just a few months ago, Kohli is now a part of the side only as a pure batter.
While it was his choice to leave the T20I captaincy last year, he was later replaced as the ODI captain of the side by the BCCI and the selectors before leaving Test captaincy last week. Kohli's place in the playing XI was always safe when he was captaining India across all formats, however, the pressure has increased on him post leaving captaincy.
Harbhajan believes Kohli no more has a guaranteed spot in the playing XI in white-ball cricket and will have to perform consistently to ensure his place in the team is safe. Harbhajan cited the examples of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev while issuing a warning to Kohli that only performances will guarantee him a spot in the team going forward.
"When a captain steps down after seven years, a lot of people feel surprised in and outside the team. I myself was very surprised that he perhaps made this decision in a hurry. But obviously, Virat knows what's in his heart, what are his future plans and what he wants to do in the future. But when you are captain, things are different. As a batter, he'll have a different pressure upon him. We all know he's a big player but when you are captain you don't have to worry about your selection. You are always selected," Harbhajan said in a video on his YouTube channel.
"But no matter how big a player you are - whether you are Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, (Sunil) Gavaskar, or anyone - you feel the pressure when you don't perform. He'll feel a pressure that wasn't there for the past 7 years. But I also want to say that in these seven years he's performed the best in world cricket as a captain. I hope his performance as a batter continues to be equally good and he keeps winning Team India matches as he did as a captain," he added.
Kohli scored a fine half-century in the first ODI against the Proteas, however, his efforts went in vain as India failed to chase down the target of 297 runs and lost the game by 31 runs. The visitors lost the second ODI by seven wickets on Saturday to go 2-0 down and lose the three-match series.