Kohli seems to have evolved again: Hussey

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Kohli seems to have evolved again: Hussey

Wednesday, 03 April 2024 | PTI | Mumbai

Kohli seems to have evolved again: Hussey

Virat Kohli seems to have “evolved again” avowed former Australia cricketer David Hussey, who warned against writing off the champion player after a debate ensued on the Indian batter’s strike rate.  Despite leading the run chart for Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the ongoing edition of IPL, Kohli faced some criticism for not batting aggressively enough against KKR in their last game.

Kohli is the joint-highest run getter so far with RR’s Riyan Parag, scoring 181 runs in three matches with two fifties at a strike rate of 141.4.

With the T20 World Cup impending, Kohli’s place in the team has also been a topic of discussion even though he played one of the most memorable innings for India in their clash against arch-rivals Pakistan in Melbourne.

“Virat Kohli is the leading run scorer, isn’t he in the IPL currently?” Hussey replied when asked about what he made of the debate around Kohli’s strike rate.

“He’s a pretty good player. I don’t think he’s going to have too many issues. If you see the strike rate in this IPL, he seems to have taken his game to a new level, he’s evolved again,” Hussey told the media here on the sidelines of the announcement of the launch of Melbourne Cricket Academy, a partnership between Cricket Victoria and KheloMore.

“You never write off champions, like you never write off Steve Smith, (like) you never write off Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma...”

“You never write them off and I’m certain that Virat Kohli is going to come out in the next World Cup and be the dominant force that he has been for the better part of a decade. Never write off your champions,” Hussey reiterated.

Hussey, who played in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings, the then Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders, said the competition has evolved with teams moving on from a conservative approach to an ultra-aggressive one.

“It’s hit-hit, bang-bang from ball one now, whereas back in 2008, (it) was (about) take your time, get yourself in, try and have wickets in hand at the first 10-over mark and then try and get 180 or 190, (and) that was out of this world,” he said. “Now teams are getting 270 runs and other teams are almost chasing them down. If you face a couple of dot balls early and your strike rate is under 100, you’re sort of ostracised, you don’t fit to the T20 mould, so the planning that’s evolved from 2008 till now is phenomenal - every ball, every over is really important,” he said.

Hussey, who was present at the Cricket Club of India along with Cricket Victoria CEO Nick Cummins and KheloMore CEO and selector Jatin Paranjape, said 10 years from now IPL would be entirely different.

“The game has evolved out of sight and like Nick (Cummins) said, I can’t wait to see what the IPL and what T20 cricket looks like in a decade’s time, because teams might get 300 runs and chase it down, which should be not good for fast bowlers or spinners but it’s great for the game of cricket,” he said. Hussey felt Australia will have a selection headache going into the World Cup, adding that players who are likely to feature in the T20 World Cup are getting an excellent opportunity to prepare for it in the IPL.

“There’s competition for places, isn’t there, in the Australian team? There’s Travis Head who also opens up batting as well, who’s playing particularly well,” Hussey said.

“Anybody can beat anybody on their day, the pitch is a different, foreign conditions, but the players are very, very fortunate to have the IPL to play in and prepare very well in order to go to the World Cup and execute their skills,” Hussey said.

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