Ponting feels Kohli will find it hard to get back if dropped; says India should persist with him

Virat Kohli | File Photo
Image Source : REUTERS Virat Kohli | File Photo

Legendary Australian player Ricky Ponting has come out in support of Virat Kohli and has opined that the opposition will be more fearful of a team with Kohli in it, rather than the one where he isn’t. 

Ponting also blamed Kohli’s frequent change in the batting position for his lean patch and went on to say that if dropped, Kohli might find it difficult to get back in the team. 

Kohli has struggled for runs during this year’s IPL and hasn’t scored a century for India in any format for almost three years.

Ponting said instead of changing Kohli’s position in the playing XI frequently, the Indian team management needs to give him the confidence to get his touch back.

“They probably should be trying to find new ways to get him back into the form and help him out,” the former skipper told ‘The ICC Review’.

“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’s 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 feels Kohli should be given a set position in the batting order.

“I will be going the other way. I’ll 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.” Ponting said the Indian team management will have a huge role to play in Kohli’s resurgence.

“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,” he said.

“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 around the Indian set-up, 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.”

Ponting, who captained Australia to two World Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007, believes the 33-year-old Indian is worth persisting with at the international level as he is still a fearsome player for any opposition.

“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,” he said.

“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 suggested Indian selectors to find a spot for Kohli in the top order and commit to leaving the champion batter there for the entirety of the T20 World Cup, hoping that he finds his form during the knockout stages of the tournament.

“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,” he said.

“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 believes Kohli’s best performances for India have come when he looked settled both on the field and off the field. “You still got to find the best balance for the team. You can’t just make the team all about one person,” he noted. 

Currently, Virat Kohli has been rested for the West Indies tour, but some reports claim he might play against Zimbabwe in the ODIs.

(Inputs PTI)

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