'If I was India's captain or coach, I would be telling him…': Ricky Ponting's message for struggling Virat Kohli

Updated on Jul 20, 2022 07:03 PM IST

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has weighed in on Virat Kohli's poor run of form and backed the former India captain to return to his dominating best rather soon.

Ricky Ponting has a strong word of advice for Virat Kohli. (Getty Images)
Ricky Ponting has a strong word of advice for Virat Kohli. (Getty Images)
By, New Delhi

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has weighed in on Virat Kohli's poor run of form and backed the former India captain to return to his dominating best rather soon. Kohli, once the world's most consistent batter, finds himself in the middle of a prolonged slump in form, where runs are looking extremely difficult to come by. After stepping down/resigning as India's captain, Kohli's form has dipped even further, making him a pale shadow of his former self. This has led to speculations about his place in India's T20 World Cup squad, with many believing that on current form, Kohli does not merit a place in the squad that will be travelling to Australia in October. India's legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev had pointed out that if Ashwin, the No. 2 ranked Test bowler could be dropped from India's Playing XI, the same should apply to Kohli. Ponting, however, is not one of them and he still believes that a team with Kohli is still more fearful that one without him.

"I think if I was an opposition captain or an opposition player, I will be fearing playing an Indian team that has Virat Kohli in it, more than I would be one that doesn't have him in it. I know there have been some challenges for him, it's been a difficult time. But every great player that I have seen in this game has been through it at some stage, whether that's a batsman or a bowler, they have all been through it. And somehow, the best (players) find a way to rebound and respond, and it's only a matter of time before Virat does that," Ponting said on The ICC Review Show.

Ponting added that leaving Kohli out of India's initial World Cup matches tend to do more harm to Kohli than good. The former Australia captain reckons that if Kohli is left out of the XI to accommodate other players, and provided they have a good game, Kohli's chances of coming back to form will be severely dented. Ponting mentioned that if it was him in place of Rohit Sharma on Rahul Dravid, the message to Kohli will be simple… make the environment as healthy and as positive as possible from Virat's point of view.

"If you leave Virat out of the eve of the World Cup, and someone comes in and has a reasonable tournament, it will be hard for Virat to get back in it. If I was India, I will keep pushing with him, because I know the upside. If they actually get him back confident and playing as well as he can, that upside is better than most. So I think if I was a captain or a coach, I will be making life as easy as possible for him to feel as comfortable as possible, and just wait for him to flick the switch and start scoring runs again," said Ponting.

"Early in the tournament, for a first-round game, (it’s important to) get him in nice and early, among the runs, and then hopefully by the end of the tournament you’ll have Virat Kohli back at his best. That’s the way I would look at it. I wouldn’t think about holding him back at the start of the tournament, with the thought that you might be able to bring him back towards the back end and have him peak. Tournament play isn’t like that. You need to work your way into the tournament, get some runs under your belt, and get some confidence and then be playing your best cricket at the back end."

Ponting is not in favour of shuffling Kohli much in the batting order. Kohli the opener is an option that has been contemplated after Virat opened for India in a few games last year. But Ponting reckons that it is better Kohli sticks to one position in the batting order, preferably his No. 3 spot, and urged the management to back him to score runs from there.

"They probably should be trying to find new ways to get him back into the form and help him out. That (moving him up the order) quite often comes at the expense of someone else as well, you are moving someone else around trying to find a spot for Virat. He has opened the batting, he has batted at No.3 in the IPL in the last couple of years and done the same for India. Moving him around will make him feel that people are worried about him, and he will be more unsettled," Ponting said.

"I will be going the other way. If I was the coach of captain, I would be telling him, 'This is your spot, this is where you're batting, it's not going to change. Keep believing in yourself, keep putting in the hard work, keep believing what made you the best player in the world for a number of years – get back to those thoughts and the runs will come'."

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