Into the format that arguably suits him the most, Virat Kohli produced another mesmerising knock as India defeated Australia in their Cricket World Cup 2023 opening match on Sunday. When it comes to the 50-over format, Kohli knows at what pace he needs to be scoring runs. After India lost Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer for ducks, Kohli maintained the tempo of the match in a manner that didn’t put pressure on the Indian team throughout the chase. After India sealed the win, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir was full of praise for the iconic batter.
Gambhir, in a chat on Star Sports, asserted that Kohli’s approach in the situation was exactly how a player should apply himself. Chasing a target of 201 runs on what seemed like a tricky wicket, India needed to rotate the strike over scoring boundaries.
“Well, I think it’s just the way you read the game. I think it’s very important. First, when you have to chase those big totals, you got to be able to absorb the pressure. You should have this self-belief, you can chase it down from any situation and position and, more importantly, when he does that in one-day cricket, you have got to realise it’s not about hitting those big shots,” he said.
“It’s about running between the wickets. It’s about rotating the strike. It’s about never putting yourself under pressure. The lesser dot balls you play, the better position you’re in, because you know that with these new rules, with five fielders inside and two new balls with any time to accelerate,” he added.
Virat Kohli 85(115) vs Australia World Cup 2023 ball by ball highlights pic.twitter.com/7YULSlG0nf
— Abhinav (@TotalKohli) October 9, 2023
Scoring 85 runs off 116 balls, Virat only hit 6 boundaries during his stay on the crease. Gambhir was truly impressed by the 34-year-old’s mindset and approach in that run-chase. In fact, the cricketer-turned-politician also hailed his fitness to continue going for singles and doubles during the chase.
“But when your team is under pressure, that low-risk cricket from there on, if you can continue to build that momentum, continue to build that foundation and that is exactly what he has done. He plays the ball. He was on 70-odd with only 5 boundaries. So, that just shows the ability to play spin and more importantly, the ability to rotate the strike against spin,” said Gambhir.
“That is very important and that is why he’s so consistent. And I’m sure I think a lot of these young cricketers in the dressing room will learn the importance of fitness, the importance of running between the wicket and the importance of how to rotate strike in the middle as well, because with this new format with T20 cricket, a lot of these new guys want to keep hitting the ball out of the ground,” he added.
Gambhir feels youngsters have a lot to learn from Kohli, especially in this format of the game.
“But that’s not gonna be easy. Imagine when you’re 2 or 3 down for two. You can’t go out there and hit a long ball. You will still need to be able to absorb the pressure and try and rotate those strikes. And I’m sure these young cricketers coming through will learn from Virat Kohli,” he explained.
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