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“Fuelled His Fire…”: Australia Great On Virat Kohli’s Outburst Amid Criticism Over Strike-Rate

Former Australia batter Matthew Hayden has suggested that he is not surprised by Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) icon Virat Kohli coping with the criticism over his strike-rate. Despite leading the run-scoring charts, Kohli has often come under scrutiny over his batting intent this season, especially against the spinners. However, Kohli hit back at his critics by taking on the spinners in the last few matches while scoring at a healthy strike-rate. Even former India captain Sunil Gavaskar had also slammed Kohli for his outburst on live television over his criticism.

“I understand from a fan’s point of view that Virat Kohli has copped a bit of criticism around the strike-rate. It’ll always be the case because, he’s a very conventional cricketer. He’s a very technical cricketer, which makes him a great across all three formats. He’s an extremely fit warrior. So he’ll be able to take games deep in Test match cricket, one day cricket and in fact, T20 cricket as well,” Hayden said on Star Sports.

Hayden suggested that criticism from fans and experts have allowed Kohli to work on his shortcomings

“But one of the big concerns that we’ve all had is through the middle. And so, like all great champions, if there is something out there in the media or there’s something where you can feel yourself to improve, then you get about making your business to do so. And I sense that that’s exactly what’s happened to Virat Kohli this season,” he added.

“You know, those middle phases being that 138 strike-rate against spin, that’s critical for India because international sides they’ll line up with spin. Every side will have two, sometimes three spinners as their resource, and they’ll use it to slow down a Kohli who, inside that powerplay has got such a huge energy and momentum and creates great pressure on opposition.

Hayden further suggested that if a top player gets poked, they make sure to hit back hard at the critics.

“So, I love the way that it’s fueled his fire and fueled some improvement and, you know, look out. A dangerous athlete is one that’s been wounded. There have been a few in my lifetime that I can remember.

“Steve Waugh never used to have a word to him. Kevin Pietersen, he used to love the pressure. Brian Lara, Don’t talk to him. Why would you do that? He’ll just smash you. So, guys that are of that kind of quality, if you try and needle them, all they do is get better,” the former opening batter further explained.

Kohli is currently the Orange Cap holder with 634 runs in 12 matches.

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