Virat Kohli, India’s illustrious batter, has experienced a resurgence in his form, consistently amassing runs this year. He’s notched up two centuries in both Test and ODI formats, and he’s been a standout performer in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), registering a couple of centuries.
As the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 approaches, scheduled in India from October 5 to November 19, Kohli’s role in India’s campaign will be pivotal. The 34-year-old has already demonstrated his prowess as the highest run-scorer in the 2022 T20 World Cup, boasting an impressive record of 296 runs in six matches, with an average of 98.67 and a strike rate of 136.41.
Now an intriguing perspective emerged from former South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, who recently shared his unique approach to dealing with Kohli on the field.
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Initiating conversations with Kohli at the crease benefits his game
During an interview on Revsportz’s show “Backstage with Boria,” the former South African speedster emphasized that bowlers should steer clear of sledging Kohli, as doing so often backfires. He underlined that engaging Kohli in conversation while he’s at the crease plays into his hands, and his counsel to fellow bowlers is simply to leave him be.
“Don’t sledge Virat Kohli. Any bowler who sledges him will have to pay the price. If you don’t sledge and just let him be, he could get bored and make a mistake,” Ntini said.
“Let me tell you something about Virat Kohli, something I will tell every South African bowler who will bowl to him. Don’t say a word to him when he is batting. I repeat, don’t sledge him by saying anything to him. If you do so you are actually playing into his hands. He wants the sledge if you know him. He wants the combat and loves such things. If you do so, you are actually giving in to what he wants and it will only make him that much more determined and he will make you pay. Rather, just keep silent against him,” the 46-year-old added.
Opposition Bowlers and Fielders choose to stay silent around Kohli
In a rather intriguing observation, the South African stalwart even suggested that if the opposition bowlers and fielders refrain from talking to Kohli, he might grow disinterested and potentially lose focus, resulting in a swift exit.
“When he sees a bowler not say things, he will get bored. He needs action in the middle to be at his best. When he doesn’t get it, he will find it boring and that’s when he can make a mistake. With players like him you need to be smart and not do the things that you will do with other batters. So when you bowl to him try and stay silent and make him feel bored. That’s your best chance of getting him out,” Ntini concluded.
Notably, Kohli was given a well-deserved rest during the T20I series against West Indies and Ireland to manage his workload. The batting maestro will make his eagerly awaited return during the ongoing Asia Cup 2023.
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