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T20 World Cup: Jaffer feels Kohli’s ‘greatness’ will come at end of tournament

New York : Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer believes talismanic batter Virat Kohli will show his true colours and greatness in the business end of the Men’s T20 World Cup, especially after he ended the New York leg of India’s campaign with just five runs in three innings.

Kohli came into the tournament on the back of being leading run-getter in IPL 2024, where he amassed 741 runs in 15 matches while opening the batting for Royal Challengers Bengaluru. But in the T20 World Cup, Kohli has made 1, 4 and 0 on tough pitches for India in their first three Group A games at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.

“Rohit and Virat have been playing on the tough New York pitch so they aren’t quite among the top run-scorers. But do not write off Virat Kohli. As the tournament will get to its business end, he will show his true colors and he will show his greatness. I had picked Virat Kohli as the highest run-scorer and I will stick to him,” said Jaffer in a video on his Youtube channel.

He also quashed thoughts over Kohli reverting back to playing at number three, citing that Rishabh Pant is well-settled in that position now. “I don’t think Virat Kohli should bat at No. 3. He should continue to open because now you have got Rishabh Pant at No. 3 and now it has been working out really well. You ideally want a left-hand right-hand opening combination and while you have Jaiswal, that doesn’t seem possible.”

At the same time, Jaffer also wishes for India to be proactive in their power-play batting in coming matches. “You will need to be proactive in the powerplay. You will reach nowhere if you play cautiously on such pitches because the bowler knows he has to bowl on a spot and let the pitch do the rest. We have seen players like Rishabh Pant get rewarded for their bravery and that’s the way you need to play with the powerplay restrictions.”

With India’s final Group A game set to happen against Canada in Florida on June 15, Jaffer thinks there could be case for Sanju Samson to bat at number four provided they leave out Shivam Dube, who made 31 not out off 35 balls in the seven-wicket win over USA at New York.

“There might be a case for Sanju Samson at No. 4. But then Shivam Dube has got just a couple of games and the team management will want to give him a longer run. Whether Samson will play, whether Jaiswal will play, these decisions are something that the team management will need to think about going forward,” he concluded.

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