If he features in India’s Asia Cup opener against Pakistan, dubbed as the ‘greatest rivalry’ in cricketing world, it will also mark Kohli’s 100th T20I appearance.
Kohli returns to the Indian team for the Asia Cup in T20I format, having last featured for the national team during the tour of England in July. He was then rested for white-ball tour of West Indies and ODIs against Zimbabwe. Kohli has been in a prolonged lean patch, having not scored a century in international cricket since November 2019.
“No, I haven’t spoken to him but it’s not rocket science. Big players wake up in due course. They need a break; mental fatigue can creep in to the best in the world. There is not a single player in world cricket who has not gone through a bad patch. I am sure this downtime is not just for the body; it’s time to reflect.”
“He would have reflected as to what he didn’t do right? What things he did absolutely right and should keep focussing on that. What he allowed to come into his mindset that was just not required or relevant? All these things come into play,” said Shastri in a press conference organised by Star Sports, the official broadcaster of Asia Cup 2022.
Shastri further explained how the break would have rejuvenated Kohli ahead of Asia Cup and then Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November.
“You get an opportunity to then decide, what is the best future course of action when you get on to the park again. Whether it is shot selection, or it is how you plan, when to shift gears in a T20 game, should I give myself more time or not. All that will have to come into play. Now it is time for him to execute those plans.”
“He will come back with a calmer mind, because the heat is off. You have been away. Now, what you do will get the tone. He gets a fifty in the very first game, and mouths will be shut for the rest of the tournament. What’s happened in the past is history. Remember, public memory is very short. So it works both ways. His opportunity here is to get that calmness and then take it one day at a time.”
Former Pakistan captain and fast bowling legend Wasim Akram was optimistic about Kohli getting back to form and took an aim at people critical of Kohli’s recent lean performances on social media.
“Let me start off with the last year or so. Whatever I have been seeing on social media, Indian fans, against Virat Kohli, that most of them fans, press or maybe, are having a go at him unnecessarily. He is only 33, he is one of the greatest of all time of modern-era. He is averaging 50 in all the formats, including T20, he is averaging 50.”
“He is still fit as a fiddle; he is still one of the best fielders India has got. Form is temporary, class is forever and that is what Virat Kohli is. I am sure he will come back, he is a great player. I just hope that he does not come back against Pakistan. But in general, he will make a comeback.”