Asia Cup 2022: “He needs to focus more on cricket”

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Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria feels star batter Virat Kohli has been far too consumed with off-field issues and that has hampered his focus on his primary skill, his batting.

Kohli voluntarily stepped down from Team India’s T20I captaincy last year, but controversial exchanges between him and the BCCI followed. He was then asked to step down from the ODI captaincy as well.

While speaking to India Today on Friday, Kaneria explained why it was perhaps time for Kohli to get back into the groove and focus more on what was happening on the field:

“Virat Kohli is struggling and the time period has gone too far. It’s like three years and all the dilemmas. After the 2021 T20 World Cup, he lost his captaincy (in ODIs), and then the issues with the board and statements came into the media. Too much has happened. I think he needs to focus more on cricket, on his batting and if he wants to play for a few more years, he needs to perform.”

Danish Kaneria is also baffled by the amount of rest Kohli has been given in international bilaterals of late. The 33-year-old was rested from the T20Is against South Africa, the entire tour of West Indies as well as the ongoing ODI series against Zimbabwe. On this, the former cricketer said:

“I think he has done wrong by missing international matches. He should have skipped some IPL games but should not have skipped international cricket because international cricket could have brought him back into the form. The five T20Is against West Indies were crucial for him and he should have come up and played in that series.”

Lack of match practice could impact Virat Kohli’s Asia Cup performance: Danish Kaneria

Kaneria believes Team India have taken a huge gamble by giving Virat Kohli too much rest before the Asia Cup. The 41-year-old feels that after being such a long time away from the game, Kohli could be little rusty and might feel a bit more pressure on his comeback:

“Lack of match practice could impact his performance (at Asia Cup). He hasn’t played after the England series. From there we have to see whether he will be able to perform or not. It will be a big pressured game for him. I’m hoping for him to come and put on a big show on a big day with big runs.”

Will Virat Kohli’s long break prove to be a blessing in disguise for the former Indian captain? Or will it have made him rusty ahead of the Asia Cup? Let us know in the comments.


Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee

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