Virat Kohli's critics silenced by Matthew Hayden with hard-hitting Super 8 take: ‘Just leave him alone’ | Crickit
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Virat Kohli's critics silenced by Matthew Hayden with hard-hitting Super 8 take: ‘Just leave him alone’

By | Written by Siddharth Thakur, New Delhi
Jun 19, 2024 09:45 PM IST

Should Virat Kohli continue as opener for India at the T20 World Cup? Find out what Matthew Hayden said.

Despite registering forgetful scores in the group stage, Virat Kohli is expected to shine at the grandest stage as India are eyeing its second ICC T20 World Cup title in the Caribbean. Throwing weight behind an under-fire Kohli, legendary Australian opener Matthew Hayden pointed out that the premier batter batted in tough conditions in the ICC event. Hayden has tipped Kohli to deliver the goods for India in the Caribbean leg of the ICC T20 World Cup.

Hayden said that Kohli is a world-class batter in any condition(AFP-Getty Images)
Hayden said that Kohli is a world-class batter in any condition(AFP-Getty Images)

Champions in the 2007 edition of the ICC event, India topped Group A to enter the Super 8 stage of the tournament. Rohit Sharma's Team India side outclassed arch-rivals Pakistan, giant-killers Ireland, and co-hosts USA. In all three matches, Kohli registered paltry individual scores. Former India skipper Kohli posted scores of one (against Ireland), four (against Pakistan), and zero (against the USA) in the group stage of the ICC event. The 35-year-old also recorded his first-ever golden duck at the T20 World Cup.

ALSO READ: Can Rishabh Pant open for India and Virat Kohli return to No.3 position in Super 8 at T20 World Cup?

When asked about Kohli's form on the Star Sports Press Room for Super 8, former Australian opener Hayden said that Kohli is a world-class batter in any condition. "These venues (Caribbean) where you have to think about the way you construct your innings and think about also the kind of realistic totals that are possible in these different venues," Hayden explained.

'Virat is in a really good space'

"Outside of St Lucia, par scores are in the range of 160-170 and Virat, with all his experience, will be able to work out what to do, like hitting spin towards the windward side, depending on how significant it is. Virat is in a really good space, he's had extremely tough conditions and no one would have liked that in the competition. Everyone wants to see these great champions being able to play freely and that's going to be the case and experience counts," Hayden continued.

Kohli arrived at the T20 World Cup after ruling the roost in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024. Kohli presented a strong selection case to open the Indian innings by winning the Orange Cap at the IPL 2024. The former Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) skipper amassed 741 runs in the 2024 season of the cash-rich league. Even though Kohli scored five runs at the T20 World Cup, Hayden believes the veteran batter should continue to open the innings for India at the T20 World Cup.

'During the IPL, I was advocating…'

“During the IPL, I was advocating that if Kohli is going to be in the team, he needs to open. Virat at three, I don't think we get the best out of him. You can't just turn up and blast 250 on these wickets. You need thinking cricketers; it borders on performance during this World Cup. The way David Warner came out on a pretty (tough) wicket and blew the game away, that's what Kohli is going to be challenged with in the Caribbean,” Hayden said.

Pakistan's Babar Azam surpassed Kohli by becoming the all-time leading run-getter in the shortest format. Kohli is 104 runs behind Babar, who has scored 4145 in 116 innings for Pakistan. Former India skipper Kohli has 4,042 runs under his belt in 120 matches. The 35-year-old has notched up one century and 37 fifties in the shortest format. India will meet Afghanistan in Barbados on Thursday.

'Just leave him alone'

"Just leave him alone. He will show you why the Indian selectors have had faith in him at that position. And he needs to continue also to have a great strike back because clearly we've seen the pattern emerge here in the World Cup is that, those six overs, man you have to be in front of the game here. It's too hard to catch up if you're looking to go, in the back half of this game. Must be a good, clinical first 10 overs," Hayden added.

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