Millennium Post (Kolkata)

I have still got it, I guess, says Virat Kohli


Virat Kohli gave a bold statement with his bat and words as he ensured Royal Challenger­s Bengaluru won their high voltage contest against Punjab Kings at the Chinnaswam­y Stadium in Bengaluru on Monday night.

Returning from a twomonth paternity break, after Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma were blessed with a baby boy recently abroad, reported as Britain, the champion batter returned to IPL 2024. Carping critics were cruel to him as he did not do well in the first match.

But then, Virat Kohli is not the sort of batter to lose confidence after one failure. On Monday, he was on song, scoring 77 runs after being dropped on zero.

Nobody can get away by giving a chance to King Kohli, whose batting was about effulgence and energy. The stadium was packed and Virat Kohli knew he had to justify the faith of the fans. After all, last Sunday, the RCB women’s team had won the WPL title in New Delhi, beating Delhi Capitals.

After the match, Kohli was all fired up. “I know my name is now attached to just promoting the game in different parts of the world when it comes to T20

cricket. I’ve still got it I guess,” he said cheekily in a message for those who think he does not deserve a place in the Indian squad for the ICC T20 World Cup. It will be held in the USA and West Indies in June.

Usually, Kohli will not speak such. But then, having been needled on air by the experts, first by Sunil Gavaskar three years ago and recently by a few more experts, Kohli was seething with rage, within.

He missed the Test series against England, recently, which was after he had taken permission from the BCCI. But then, people still questioned Kohli, the former India captain’s commitment to the national team as well as his favourite RCB. It is well known that the Delhi-born Kohli has faced criticism many times and he has kept quiet. In fact, when the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics committee decided to accept T20 cricket as a competitiv­e medal sport, Virat Kohli was the face of it. That is why Kohli said his name was being used as an advert.

For those who think he is past prime, at 35, there were many things to see on Monday in his game. “Well, I mean, you have to make additions to your game,” he said while speaking about stepping out to fast bowlers and hitting them over cover, as opposed to playing the grounded cover drive that he is so famous for.

“People know I play the cover drive pretty well so they’re not going to allow me to hit gaps and with guys like KG [Kagiso Rabada] and Arshdeep [Singh] as well, he’s tall. So, I mean, if they’re hitting length, you have to create some momentum in the ball,” said Kohli.

“And once you’re closer to the ball, you kind of negate the bounce that’s going to happen. You meet it earlier. So, I mean, you have to come up with a game plan here and there and try to keep improving your game,” Kohli said.

This was the cricket part of what Kohli shared with the public. As regards what he has faced for long, this is not the first time he has faced tons of criticism. Kohli returned to India after one Test during the series in Australia in 2021. Later, Ajinkya Rahane took over and India won that series. At that time, Kohli was lambasted, as if he had done wrong.

Fact is, it is the same Kohli who once played a Ranji Trophy match for Delhi a day after he had lost his father. That has been his passion for cricket. Superstars have no personal life and both Kohli and Anushka decided to travel abroad for the second child’s arrival.

In Britain, Kohli was a commoner. He could go to the markets and not get mobbed or chased for autographs and selfies. Yes, he was away from cricket physically, but not mentally.

His physical fitness has been top class, each day. He has trained hard and preserved his body. Getting back to cricket and scoring was just a matter of time.

Nobody can get away by giving a chance to King Kohli, whose batting was about effulgence and energy

 ?? ?? Virat Kohli in action
Virat Kohli in action

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