India won their opening match against Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday by five wickets and chased down the target of 148 in a thrilling last-over finish. Kohli was the joint top-scorer for India, along with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, as the former India captain played a solid knock of 35 of 34 balls.
“Good to see him come back. I saw a couple of shots where he really made an impact. I just want him to be more sure about that. So far, he is coming back, he looked good. He was lucky in the first over when he was dropped. I like his attitude, not only today but from the last ten years. This makes him a bigger player than anyone else,” said Kapil in an exclusive interview with ANI.
Questioned on how Virat can evolve from criticism coming his way, the 1983 World Cup-winning captain suggested that Kohli needs to understand that ups and downs are part of a sportsperson’s career.
“It is much bigger than anything else. No player will get runs in every match, no player will get a zero in every match. I think with his ability, his talent, it should not take him that long to come back in form. Just waiting for one big knock. He will be back, I have no doubt about it,” he added.
Kapil praises ‘great athlete’ Hardik Pandya
Kapil was all praise for all-rounder Hardik Pandya after his match-winning performance in the game against Pakistan.
Hardik was the ‘Man of the Match’ for his match-winning 33 not out, which followed a brilliant bowling spell of 3/25 that saw him capture the wickets of Mohammed Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah.
“That is where the team gets an advantage (with presence of all-rounders like Hardik). You have Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja who can bowl their overs and bat well. Any all-rounder is a cherry on the cake for the team. Hardik and Jadeja are great athletes,” said Kapil.
“Hardik has made us so proud. Only thing is that he has to look after himself because when a person of his ability gets injured, the whole team gets injured. His ability nobody can doubt, the only thing I am worried about sometimes is his injuries.”
Hardik returned to his fully fit avatar in 2022 after dealing with fitness issues over the years to lead Gujarat Titans to their maiden India Premier League (IPL) title in their debut season.
Throughout the season, Pandya led his side from the front with his all-round show, scoring 487 runs at an average of 44.27 in 15 games and hitting four fifties. He also took eight wickets for his side, including a match-winning 3/17 in the final.
Since then, he has shown exceptional form for India in T20Is and has played many crucial knocks, be it as an aggressor or an anchor.
He will, thus, be a very important part of the India team in the upcoming T20 World Cup, which will take place in October-November this year in Australia.