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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 July 2024

Opener Kohli gets Hayden's support

According to the distinguished former Australia opener, that’s the best position to bat for Kohli although making use of the Powerplay overs in the Caribbean conditions is one challenge he will be up with

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 20.06.24, 08:57 AM
Virat Kohli.

Virat Kohli. File picture

Virat Kohli has had a tough time as an opener in the ongoing T20 World Cup with scores of 1, 4 and 0 in the three games India played during the tournament’s group phase. Despite the struggle, the former captain should continue to bat upfront, feels Matthew Hayden.

According to the distinguished former Australia opener, that’s the best position to bat for Kohli although making use of the Powerplay overs in the Caribbean conditions is one challenge he will be up with.

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"I said it during the IPL as well that if Kohli was going to be in the (T20 Cup) team, he needs to open," Hayden said at Star Sports Press Room on Wednesday. "With Virat at No.3, I don't think we'll get the best out of him. You can't just turn up and blast 250 on these wickets. You need thinking cricketers.

"You look back at David Warner's performance in this World Cup. In Barbados on a sluggish wicket (against England), he made 30-odd (39 off 16 balls). It was a really important, well-constructed 30-odd. So, what’s your benchmark? Is it (scoring) 100s, 50s or the strike rate?

"The way Warner and (Travis) Head came out on that Barbados wicket and blew the game away, that's what Kohli is going to be challenged with as he’s now in the Caribbean. Also, just leave him alone for the next week-and-a-half. He will show you why the Indian selectors have had faith in him when it comes to batting at that (opener’s) position.

“And yeah, he needs to continue to have a great strike rate. In those six overs, you have to be in front of the game. It’s too hard to catch up if you don’t have good first 10 overs," Hayden stressed.

'Generational bowler'

Kohli's tough time aside, Jasprit Bumrah's bowling — against Pakistan in particular — has had a big role to play behind India finishing the group stage unbeaten.

Terming India's pace spearhead as "a good communicator who thinks about the game", former West Indies pacer Ian Bishop, also present at the virtual media interaction, stated: "He has got pace, but he has also developed variations and knows better than many bowlers when to use his variations.

"He has a unique action where the ball gets on to you a lot quicker than batsmen anticipate. And that’s partly why those full tosses sometimes don’t get smashed, because they get on to you. This guy is a generational bowler."

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