Pakistan wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal has come to Virat Kohli’s defence and has claimed that it is unfair to make Kohli the scapegoat for India’s failure to perform in ICC knockout matches. Akmal has insisted that Kohli is unlucky, and believes the latter should continue for as long as he wants.
Defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final marked eight years of India not winning an ICC Trophy, and, incidentally, four of those years have been under the leadership of Virat Kohli, who last week lost his third ICC tournament as skipper. Since Kohli took over, four years ago, India have seen themselves falter in the final hurdle (CT 17 final, ICC CWC 2019 semis and WTC Final) and the tendency to ‘choke’ has seen fans and experts call for a change in captaincy.
But going against the general sentiment, Pakistan wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal defended the Indian skipper. In his YouTube channel, Akmal termed Kohli ‘unlucky’ and insisted that it was ‘unfair’ to make Kohli the scapegoat for defeats in knockout matches.
“He has been a bit unlucky, but I have no doubt over his captaincy credentials. He is a great captain and match-winner,” Akmal said, reported Hindustan Times.
“It (India not winning ICC events) is not completely Virat Kohli’s fault. What is the guarantee that another captain can come in and win India an ICC trophy? As a team, they have to analyze why they are not winning the big events. They reach the last stages but fail at the final hurdle. It will be unfair to blame only Virat Kohli. According to me, as long as he feels that he can do the job, he should continue.”
But while defending Kohli, Akmal was critical of India’s team selection. India opted to play two spinners - Ashwin and Jadeja - in overcast conditions, and the wicket-keeper batsman termed it a mistake. Akmal reckoned that India should have played an extra batsman, and pointed out how the batting ultimately let the side down in the six-day encounter.
“If we look at India’s playing XI for the WTC, you should never play two spinners on seaming pitches. New Zealand chose the perfect playing XI according to the overcast conditions. They won even after the entire first day’s play was lost to rain. India should have strengthened their batting. As it is, their batsmen weren’t among the runs,” Akmal said.
“Virat Kohli was not in form; the opening partnership was not working well. India should have analysed all these issues before finalising their playing XI. They played the same combination of two spinners, which they had in Australia and at home, a move that backfired.”