Former Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar feels that Indian skipper Virat Kohli will need to step up and score runs if India are to compete in the inaugural World Test Championship final against New Zealand. Agarkar believes Kohli will once again show resilience and repeat his 2018 England tour heroics.
The Indian Men’s team is currently under soft quarantine in Southampton before they come out to hit the nets ahead of their WTC final clash against New Zealand that starts on June 18. Indian skipper Virat Kohli has been the lynchpin of the Indian batting line-up over the years across all formats, amassing 7490 runs from 91 Tests at an average of 52.38 and a strike rate of 57.12 with 27 hundreds to his name.
Since 2020, however, Kohli has played only seven games, including the home series against England earlier in February, and has managed to score just 288 runs at an average of 24.00, with his highest score being the 74 that he put up against Australia in the Adelaide Test. It has been a year and a half since the skipper got his last international century, which came against Bangladesh in the Day/Night Test at Eden Gardens in 2019.
Former Indian speedster Ajit Agarkar feels Kohli will need to step up and score runs if India are to compete in the final against the Kiwis.
"Virat Kohli will have to get runs if India has to compete in this Test match, there are no two ways about it," Agarkar said on Star Sports show ‘Game Plan’, reported Hindustan Times.
When India toured England in 2018, Kohli made a marvellous comeback against England’s talisman James Anderson, who dismissed the skipper on four occasions in Tests during their 2014 visit. Not once did Kohli depart against Anderson, whereas he was dismissed at least once by other England bowlers in the five-match series. Agarkar believes Kohli will repeat his resilience against New Zealand bowlers, especially against Tim Southee, against whom he has been the victim, being dismissed 10 times by the right-armer.
"It is almost a repeat of that series that he went to England and put his demons away from the previous tour because Southee has bowled well against him. There are other guys who are going to swing the ball, so it is going to be a big challenge but he rose to that challenge against England the last time he toured there. So, I expect him to do that," Agarkar said.
"He will go back to his drawing board and see what kind of adjustment he had made after the 2014 series and he came back brilliantly. There was a question mark over his technique and how he would play against Jimmy Anderson but he came back strongly. He definitely holds the key as far as India's batting is concerned," he signed off.
"Knowing Virat Kohli, I don't think he would be worried about his own performance at this point in time. He would be only thinking about how he can contribute so that India goes on to win this Test match," the former India speedster added.