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“My Name Is Used Just To Promote T20 Game But…”: Virat Kohli’s Retort To Critics

After a minor hiccup in Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s first game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 204, Virat Kohli is back where he belongs. The same craftiness and class that Kohli has been known to exude was visible once again as he registered his 100th T20 fifty-plus score, becoming the first Indian and overall only third player to do so, in a match against Punjab Kings on Monday. He scored 77 runs in 49 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes. He scored his runs at a strike rate of over 157. RCB beat PBKS by four wickets, and Kohli played a major role.

Kohli, who took a two-month paternity break, didn’t forget to mention that whether it is cricket in the Olympic program or T20 World Cup in the USA, he is ‘The Face’.

In 378 appearances in T20s, Virat has scored 12,092 runs at an average of 41.26, with eight centuries and 92 fifties. His best score is 122*. Virat is India’s leading T20 run-getter and overall sixth. Kohli’s scintillating 77 came in the backdrop of chatter that the former Indian cricket team captain may not be picked for the T20 World Cup.

After getting the Orange Cap, Kohli¬†opened up on his form. “[To the crowd] Don’t get overexcited, it’s just two games. I know what this (orange cap) means. [Love story with the crowd] It’s been going on for years. People talk a lot about playing the sport. At the end of the day, you don’t talk about the achievements, stats or numbers but the memories. It’s what Rahul Dravid says. The friendship, love, appreciation, and backing has been amazing and is what you’ll miss and never forget,” he said.

He then went on to say that he still has it in him to perform in the shortest format.

“In T20, I’m opening, I try to give the team a blazing start. But when wickets start falling, you have to understand the conditions as well. The wicket wasn’t as placid as normal here. It was a bit two-paced. Had to play correct cricketing shots, couldn’t hit balls across the line. Tried a few, felt like I needed big hits at the other end, which didn’t happen as Maxi and Anuj got out quickly. Disappointed not having finished it off. It was a slot ball that I sliced straight to deep point. Not a bad bad though playing after two months and getting into the tournament,” he said.

“I had to, bowlers know I play the cover drive pretty well. So they won’t allow me to hit gaps. Guys like KG and Arshdeep, if they are hitting length, you have to create momentum, once you’re closer to the ball you negate the bounce. You have to come up with a game plan and try to keep improving. I know my name is often used to just promote the T20 game across the world when it comes to T20 cricket these days but still got it I guess.”

Though players’ places in the T20 squad will be defined on the basis of the IPL 2024 campaign, a report has claimed that chief selector Ajit Agarkar has been asked to ‘convince’ Virat to make way for youngsters in the team.

As per a report in The Telegraph, Virat was informed by Agarkar about the need for a change in his approach. The conversation prompted Kohli to bat more aggressively in T20Is against Afghanistan but could only register the highest score of 29 in a match.

The report further claims that the selectors are of the opinion that the slow wickets in the West Indies wouldn’t suit Kohli’s natural game as a batter. Hence, the selection committee has been assessing its options for the showpiece event.

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