Shoaib Akhtar slams Virat Kohli's critics: 'Give him the respect he deserves, he is the greatest of all time'

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: May 31, 2022, 06:48 PM(IST)

Virat Kohli has endured a rough patch in his career over the last couple of years. Photograph:( AFP )

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Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has lashed out at Virat Kohli's critics and slammed them for disrespecting the Indian batting maestro amid his rough patch.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) made it to their third straight playoffs in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. However, they failed to go the distance once again as their wait for their maiden IPL title got extended. While it was a great season for the franchise under new skipper Faf du Plessis, RCB superstar Virat Kohli had a forgetful campaign. Kohli struggled for consistency throughout the season and failed to fire with the bat.

A lot was expected from Kohli in IPL 2022 after he gave up captaincy last year and was playing only as a batter this season. He was expected to bat freely and pile on runs for his team but that was not the case as Kohli struggled to score runs against almost every team in the competition. 

The batting maestro managed only 341 runs in 16 matches at a poor average of 22.73 and a below-par strike rate of 115.99. It was an abysmal season for the former RCB skipper, who was also dismissed on ducks thrice and was trolled heavily by a section of fans for his dismal show.

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However, Kohli has found support from the legendary Shoaib Akhtar after enduring a difficult season for RCB. The former Pakistan pacer has hit out at the critics of the RCB star and said he deserves respect for what he has done in international cricket and IPL. Kohli is the leading run-getter of all time in IPL history and has been one of India's best batters for several years now.

Akhtar called Kohli the greatest of all time and said as a Pakistani, he wishes to see the Indian batter play till the age of 45 and score as many as 10 international centuries. The legendary Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for scoring 100 centuries in international cricket and no batter has managed to come close to the feat. Kohli is the only active batter who can break Tendulkar's record as he has 70 hundreds to his name in international cricket at present.

“Before passing statements, people should understand that small kids look up to them. Say good things about Virat Kohli. Give him the respect he deserves. As a Pakistani, I am saying that he is the greatest player of all time. I want him to score 110 centuries in international cricket. I want him to play till the age of 45,” Akhtar said on Sportskeeda.

“This tough situation is preparing you for 110 centuries. People are writing you off, tweeting against you. If you tweet about Diwali, you are criticised. People tweet about your wife and kid. When you lose the World Cup, you are heavily criticised. Things cannot get any worse. Just go out there, and show everyone who Virat Kohli is,” he added.

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Kohli has been rested from India's upcoming T20I series against South Africa at home along with several other senior players like Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah. He will be next seen in action when India travel to England for a one-off Test next month. Kohli will be hopeful of sparking a turnaround and scoring big in the Test match against England.

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