India are set to play New Zealand in the marquee event in Southampton starting June 18.
Virat Kohli will be eager to win a maiden ICC Trophy for Team India under his leadership. He will also hope to be at the top of his game with the bat in hand and make a match-defining contribution.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Ajit Agarkar observed that Team India’s fortunes in the WTC final could be closely tied to those of Virat Kohli.
“Virat Kohli will have to get runs if India has to compete in this Test match, there are no two ways about it,” said Agarkar.
He pointed out that the Blackcaps’ pacers would test Kohli to the hilt, and named Tim Southee as the bowler the Indian skipper needed to be most wary of.
“It is almost a repeat of that series that he went to England and put his demons away from the previous tour because Southee has bowled well against him. There are other guys who are going to swing the ball, so it is going to be a big challenge but he rose to that challenge against England the last time he toured there. So, I expect him to do that.”
Southee has dismissed Virat Kohli on 10 occasions in international cricket. This includes the three times he has got the better of the Indian batting mainstay in the longest version of the game.
“I don’t think Virat Kohli would be worried about his own performance” – Parthiv Patel
Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel observed that the team’s interest will be foremost on Virat Kohli’s mind and that he will not be concerned about his own individual performance.
“Knowing Virat Kohli, I don’t think he would be worried about his own performance at this point in time. He would be only thinking about how he can contribute so that India goes on to win this Test match.”
Patel signed off by stating that Kohli will definitely want to draw on his experiences from India’s last tour of England, where he had turned things around after going through a torrid time in 2014.
“He will go back to his drawing board and see what kind of adjustment he had made after the 2014 series and he came back brilliantly. There was a question mark over his technique and how he would play against Jimmy Anderson but he came back strongly. He definitely holds the key as far as India’s batting is concerned.”
There were question marks raised about Virat Kohli’s technique against the swinging ball after he averaged just 13.40 in five Tests in India’s 2014 tour of England.
But he answered all his critics on India’s last tour in 2018, as he amassed 593 runs at an excellent average of 59.30 and seemed untroubled by the moving ball.