'Kohli peaked too early in last year's T20 WC': Ex-England star's unusual advice

As India kick off their World Cup 2023 campaign against Australia at the iconic MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, the cricketing world would inevitably turn its attention to one of the star batters in the Indian team – Virat Kohli. At 35, Kohli stands as one of the most revered and accomplished cricketers of his generation. However, the burden of expectation on his shoulders is perhaps the heaviest, as he carries the responsibility of taking his country to a long-awaited ICC title, a feat India hasn’t achieved in a decade.

India’s Virat Kohli attends a practice session ahead of their 2023 ICC men’s cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match against Australia at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on October 5, 2023(AFP)

Kohli’s significance in the Indian lineup cannot be overstated. Widely regarded as the best all-format batter of his generation, his ability to thrive under pressure is unquestionable. It’s this very quality that will be under the microscope as India seek to clinch the coveted World Cup trophy on November 19th. Kohli’s journey in the World Cup arena has been a mix of brilliance and near misses. Last year, in a high-voltage T20 World Cup match against Pakistan, he showcased his mettle by scoring an unbeaten 82. However, despite such an electrifying start, India faltered when it mattered the most, losing to England in the semi-finals by 10 wickets.

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Monty Panesar, the former England spinner, has emphasized the importance of Kohli peaking at the right time for India’s World Cup aspirations. As the home side aims to lift the iconic World Cup trophy after a ten-year drought, all eyes will be on Kohli, and the former England star believes Kohli will have a leading role to play in the tournament.

“His presence is going to be absolutely huge for this Indian team. Virat Kohli will be setting the trend when it comes to batting — the intensity, running. He senses a moment on the field. He grabs the whole team and tells -– this is the winning moment, and let’s grab it,” Panesar told PTI.

Kohli is playing in his fourth World Cup, and Panesar hoped the star batsman would reserve his best for the knockout phase.

“I like to see Kohli peaks at the right time. He peaked too early in last year’s T20 World Cup. I think he peaked too early during the group stages. He played an innings that was worthy of a final against Pakistan (in the group match). This time I hope he saves it for the final or for the semifinal,” said Panesar.

India kickstart tournament vs Australia

Team India will begin its World Cup campaign in Chennai when it takes on Australia, and the side will be aiming for a winning start against familiar foes. There isn’t much both sides won’t know about each other, having met in two bilateral ODI series this year; the World Cup, however, is a different ball-game altogether and Rohit Sharma’s men will be aiming at capitalising on the home advantage in the opening clash against the five-time champions.

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Source: Hindustan Times

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