‘He’s just a normal batsman’: How Junaid Khan dismissed Virat Kohli thrice in a series
Pakistan left-armer seamer Junaid Khan looked back at the ODI series between India and Pakistan in late 2012, where he dismissed Virat Kohli in all the three matches. Junaid bowled 24 balls to Kohli, allowing the batsman to score just three runs off him. Kohli managed to score just 13 runs in the series, scoring a duck in Chennai, followed by six and seven in Kolkata and Delhi as Pakistan beat India 2-1.
“The first ball I bowled to him was a wide but the next ball when I beat him, I thought ‘well, he’s just a normal batsman’. Virat jokingly told me ahead of the series that these are Indian pitches and that balls won’t move much here. I said ‘we’ll see, because I have plenty of momentum with me as well,” Junaid said on the Cricingif show on YouTube.
Junaid, who was a regular in Pakistan’s Test team back then, was eager to give his best shot against India in order to cement a place in the ODI side, and the will to make it to the limited-overs squad spurred the left-arm quick to bowl with full steam. He ended the series with eight wickets, including 4/43 and 3/39 in the first two ODIs respectively.
“Before that tour, I was playing domestic cricket in Faisalabad. I had bowled around 35-40 overs in each match so I had developed momentum heading into the series,” Junaid said. “I was making a comeback in the ODIs and when we were heading to India, I knew in my mind that this is my only chance to stage a strong comeback into the team. Secondly, I knew if I would perform well in India, I would need to take wickets.”
Kohli, along with Babar Azam, Joe Root, Rohit Sharma, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith and Quinton de Kock, is one of the best batsmen in the world, but for Junaid, the India captain is the best batsman across formats. Kohli averages more than 50 in all three formats of the game, with a staggering 59.33 in ODIs.
“No doubt Kohli is the best batsman in all three formats. If you ask anyone, they’d say that guys like Babar Azam, Joe Root, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith are the best batsmen of the generation, but the best of the lot is Kohli because he’s performed outstandingly in all three formats,” Junaid pointed out.