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T20 World Cup 2024| Hayden backs Kohli

The star Indian batter, who was the highest run-getter at this year's IPL with 741 runs, is yet to make a significant contribution in the tournament.
Last Updated : 19 June 2024, 14:57 IST

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New Delhi: Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden on Wednesday backed Virat Kohli in the Caribbean leg of the T20 World Cup, saying his experience of assessing conditions and different surfaces make him a world-class batter.

Kohli, who was the highest run-getter at this year's IPL with 741 runs, is yet to make a significant contribution in the tournament. He had scores of 1, 4 and 0 in the group stages matches.

"Kohli, in any condition, has been a world-class batter. These venues (Caribbean) where you have to think about the way you construct your innings and think about also the kind of realistic totals that are possible in these different venues," Hayden said on Star Sports Press Room.

"Outside of St Lucia, par scores are in the range of 160-170 and Virat, with all his experience, will be able to work out what to do, like hitting spin towards the windward side, depending on how significant it is.

"Virat is in a really good space, he's had extremely tough conditions and no one would have liked that in the competition. Everyone wants to see these great champions being able to play freely and that's going to be the case and experience counts." Hayden also backed Kohli to continue opening the innings for India during the Super 8 stage.

"During the IPL, I was advocating that if Kohli is going to be in the team, he needs to open. Virat at three, I don't think we get the best out of him. You can't just turn up and blast 250 on these wickets. You need thinking cricketers; it borders on performance during this World Cup.

"You look back at David Warner's performance this World Cup -- in Barbados on a sluggish wicket, he made 30-odd (39 in 16 balls vs England). It was a really well-constructed thirty. It depends on what your benchmark is. Are you looking at 100s, 50s, strike rate? "The way Warner came out on a pretty (tough) wicket and blew the game away, that's what Kohli is going to be challenged with in the Caribbean. Just leave him alone. He will show you why the Indian selectors have had faith in him at that position." Hayden, however, said Kohli needs to keep in mind his strike-rate.

"And he needs to continue also to have a great strike back because clearly we've seen the pattern emerge here in the World Cup is that, those six overs, man you have to be in front of the game here.

"It's too hard to catch up if you're looking to go, in the back half of this game. Must be a good, clinical first 10 overs." Former India batter Krishnamachari Srikkanth also echoed Hayden's views.

"Virat is king of kings. We are playing against Afghanistan tomorrow. And I don't think we should just worry. Just leave him alone. He will score once again. He will win matches for India. Guys, just leave him alone," he said.

Bumrah is once in a generation bowler: Bishop

Former West Indies pacer Ian Bishop termed Jasprit Bumrah as once in a generation bowler and said opposition players don't seem to target him sometimes due to his reputation.

"Jasprit is smart, a good communicator. He's got pace, but he's also knows better than many bowlers where to use his variation," Bishop said.

"You hear him say it's not every day I go stump hunting - there are days when I go for a yorker, days I bowl a wide yorker; there are days when I assess conditions and bowl my slower ball into the pitch or use my bouncer'.

"In addition to that, there are other ingredients. He's got that unique action where the ball gets on to you a lot quicker. And that's partly why those full tosses sometimes don't get smashed because they race onto you.

"Of course, when you develop that reputation… when I bowled with Curtly Ambrose, Matthew (Hayden) never put a foot wrong against Curtly because of his reputation, but he'd look to smash me. This guy is a generational bowler." Kuldeep should definitely play India will face Afghanistan in their first super 8 match on Thursday and Srikkanth and Piyush Chawla pitched for wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav's inclusion in the playing XI, terming him a potential match winner.

"If I was captain, i will surely play Kuldeep Yadav. Wrist spinners are always potential match winners. I might drop siraj, he is a good bowler. But in this wicket Kuldeep should surely play," Srikkanth said.

Chawla added: "100 per cent he should play. If you look at the venues, they are spin-friendly. When team was picked, everyone asked why four spinners and Rohit had said you will come to know and he was talking about this league.

"You definitely need one wrist-spinner, especially in those conditions where the ball is spinning and pitches are on the slower sides. So if it's going to be toss up between Arshdeep and Siraj, then I think Siraj has to make the way."

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Published 19 June 2024, 14:57 IST

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