Team India’s vice-captain KL Rahul has downplayed comments from some former cricketers over Virat Kohli, claiming that the latter is not the same player he once was. Rahul said that everyone has an opinion, but Kohli would not be affected by it.
Debating the 33-year-old cricketer’s form, former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria had stated last month that Kohli had become a liability for the team. There has been an intense debate over the former Indian captain’s form over the last few months, with opinions being divided.
After missing the West Indies and Zimbabwe tours, Kohli will return to action during Team India’s Asia Cup 2022 clash against Pakistan on August 28. At a press conference on Friday, Rahul was asked for his views on the skepticism around Kohli among some former cricketers. He replied:
“We don’t really give much importance to comments. Everyone has their own opinion but it doesn’t really affect a player, especially a world-class player like Virat will not be affected by what people are saying on the outside.
“He has had a little break and he is working on his game. He has obviously not been able to match up to the standards he himself has set and I am sure he is hungry to come out and win matches for the country. That is something he has always done throughout his career. His mindset has always been to win matches for his country. It was the case when he was captain and it is the same now,” he added.
The 30-year-old stated that while the team is waiting for Kohli to get back among the runs, their primary focus remains preparations for the T20 World Cup.
Rahul also opened up on Team India’s aggressive approach, revealing that they spoke about it after the World Cup last year. He elaborated:
“We’d spoken about it much before, even when I was part of the team earlier. Just after the World Cup last year, we’d spoken about how we need to improve individually and how, as a team, we are going to be more aggressive. It’s done really well. Everyone has embraced it.”
India have had an impressive run in T20Is lately. After squaring the series 2-2 against South Africa at home, they defeated England in their home den 2-1. The Men in Blue also trounced the West Indies 4-1 earlier this month.
“Rohit and Rahul bhai have allowed players to challenge themselves” – KL Rahul hails captain and coach
Sharing his thoughts on India’s preparations with an eye on the T20 World Cup, the batter praised captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid for giving players the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. He explained:
“Rohit and Rahul bhai have been very clear. They have allowed players to challenge themselves in the middle and make mistakes. The players have not been judged on one or two mistakes, which is what we always wanted. That’s how we wanted to prepare and build a strong unit before the World Cup.”
The 2022 T20 World Cup will be held in Australia from October 16 to November 13.