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Nasser Hussain Advises South Africa Not to Underestimate Kohli Despite Current Slump

Former Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli is going through a tough phase in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, jointly hosted by the Caribbean and the USA. In his seven innings so far, Kohli has managed to accumulate a mere 75 runs. This is a marked downturn, especially considering his stunning performance in the previous edition at the MCG in 2022 against Pakistan, where he scored more runs in just one game than his current total. Many point to the challenging New York pitch as one of the reasons for his struggle, alongside his aggressive approach from the onset. However, Nasser Hussain, the former England captain and renowned cricket pundit, cautions that discounting Kohli in high-stakes matches would be a grave mistake.

Speaking in detail about Kohli’s indispensability to the Indian team, Hussain referred to the iconic MCG match against Pakistan. He recalled how Kohli single-handedly turned a dire situation into an inspiring victory, highlighting that Kohli has a knack for shining the brightest when the pressure is immense. Hussain suggested that the South African team, India’s opponents in the upcoming summit clash, should remain wary of Kohli’s potential to deliver match-winning performances.

“I mean you go back to the game against Pakistan at the MCG, when India were floundering. Who was there at the end, smashing? That’s the biggest game of all time for the Indians. India-Pakistan, you know. So he is always there in big matches,” Nasser Hussain remarked during an appearance on Sky Sports.

Hussain extended his argument by suggesting that while different opinions may exist about Kohli’s role and approach, his historical performance speaks volumes. He advocated for Kohli to play in his traditional style, which has rewarded him with a strike rate of 138 over the last decade. According to Hussain, Kohli should be the adhesive holding the innings together while others play more aggressively.

“I personally and others will disagree because you want to set the tone throughout the team. I personally think Virat Kohli should bat like he’s batted over the last decade. He’s got a strike rate of 138. He can be the glue, the rot, you know, they all bat around, and they all come in playing their shots. You cannot doubt Kohli as a player.

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. You cannot doubt him in a big match. He has suffered because of that New York pitch because he had a brilliant IPL,” Hussain elaborated.

At 56, Hussain has observed numerous cricketing highs and lows, and he believes that the disruptive nature of the New York wicket has been a significant factor in Kohli’s recent struggles. He argued that Kohli, being a rhythm player, thrives when he has a chance to settle in and build his innings. When Kohli takes a few deliveries to find his rhythm, he is capable of formidable performances, especially in crucial encounters.

“He was fantastic in that. So he came into the tournament in form. But he has suffered because of that New York pitch. Since then, every bit of footage from the Indian camp has been Kohli in the nets, with Rahul Dravid trying to get the rhythm of batting. He is a rhythm player. He’s not like Hardik Pandya, who is a power player. You just go out and power here. Virat Kohli needs time in the middle, rhythm. He bats for 3–4 overs and gets that rhythm. That timing comes back and, at the end, under pressure. Who will India want at the end? In a big game, they will want Kohli,” Hussain added.

The stakes couldn’t be higher as India prepares to face South Africa in the final. Given Kohli’s reputation for excelling under pressure, fans and experts alike are eager to see if he can recapture his form. Kohli’s journey so far in this tournament may have been rocky, but as history has shown, writing him off, especially in decisive matches, often proves to be a costly misjudgment. With the final approaching, all eyes will be on Kohli, hoping to witness another masterclass from one of cricket’s modern greats.

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