'Everyone has an opinion': KL Rahul's epic reply to Virat Kohli's doubters, 'His mindset is to win matches for India'
KL Rahul admitted that the Indian team wants to see the former captain get back to the “Virat Kohli form” but that the latter is not worried about former players doubting if he still has the ability to do so.
India vice-captain KL Rahul has said that while the team wants former skipper Virat Kohli get back to his best, they are not too worried about his current form. Kohli has dominated the discourse leading up to India's campaign in the Asia Cup, which starts with a match against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday.
Kohli has not scored an international century for nearly three years. Moreover, the Asia Cup is being cited as a possible last chance for Kohli to prove that he has a place in the Indian team going into the T20 World Cup, considering how his strike rate has fallen in the shortest format of the game in recent years.
Former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria had notably said that Kohli had become a "liability" for India and that he should be replaced by a younger player. “We don't really give much importance to comments. Everyone has their own opinion but it doesn't really affect a player, especially a world-class player like Virat will not be affected by what people are saying on the outside,” said Rahul in a press conference on Friday.
Kohli had sat out India's recent three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe, as he had done for a number of matches this year. Rahul, who was also forced out of the game since the end of the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) due to an injury, said that he didn't think Kohli was out of form.
"He has had a little break and he is working on his game. I was at home watching him on television when I was injured and I didn't feel like he looked out of form or out of touch. He was batting really well. He has obviously not been able to match up to the standards he himself has set and I am sure he is hungry to come out and win matches for the country. That is something he has always done throughout his career. His mindset has always been to win matches for his country. It was the case when he was captain and it is the same now.
“If a player is in that mindset I am sure good things will happen. We all eagerly want Virat to get back to the Virat Kohli form that everybody is talking about (but) we are not worried as the Indian team and I am sure he is not worried. We all want to get some game time. Obviously our main aim is the World Cup. By that time if the batters are in good nick by the World Cup or if the bowlers have played enough matches, they get enough confidence leading up to the tournament. That is our plan and what we will look to do as individuals and as a team,” said Rahul.