Virat Kohli loves to play in Australia. His 141 in Adelaide in that 2014 Test and the back-to-back centuries in the 2016 ODI series Down Under are among his very many batting accolades in Australia. Kohli also owns an impressive record in T20Is as well. His tally of 451 runs and five fifty-plus scores are both the most by any visiting batter in Australia and third most overall. And with the former India captain recently resuming normalcy with his incredible 122* in the Asia Cup last month which ended his three-year-long century drought, there is a not of expectation from Kohli at the impending T20 World Cup. However, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir has launched a fresh jibe at the batting star before the start of the tournament in Australia.
On Monday before the start of India’s T20 World Cup warm-up match against Australia, Star Sports highlighted Kohli’s record in Australia as a batter in T20I cricket. The presenter, hailing the record, asked Gambhir what mindset Kohli needs to approach the tournament with and the veteran batter opined that the ex-India captain should think only about scoring runs, not for breaking records, but for helping the Indian team in their quest for their first T20 World Cup trophy after 15 years.
Gambhir added that individual records hold no place in tournaments as big as the World Cup and hence Kohli should forget about scoring 50s and 100s and rather focus on getting impactful scores for India. He feels that winning a World Cup adds to a player’s legacy and not scoring plethora of runs in vain.
“Run banane ke mindset se. Aur iske ilawa aur koi bhi mindset ki zarurat hi nehin hai kissi bhi ballebaaz ko. Kyunki aur kya mindset ho sakta hai? Ek ballebaaz ka kaam hai run banana. Gendbaaz ka kaam hai wicket lena. Aur run woh banana jisse aapki team jeetein. Run woh nehi banana jisse aapka bas records main jaye, yaa 50 ya 100 banaye. Aap 40 ya 30 banaye, but uss impact se banaye ki aapki team 170/180 tak pohoch paaye. Agar aap chase kar rahe hai toh uss tarike se run banaye taaki jo lower middle order hain usse aap pressure hataye,” Gambhir said.
“Mujhe vishwas hai ki jab aap aise baare tournaments main jaatein ho na toh individual records ko ghar rakh ke jana chaiye. Agar aap Australia jaa rahein ho toh India pack karke jana chahiye kyunki individual records ka iss tournament me koi value nehi hai. World Cup jeetne ki value hai. Agar team jeetti hai toh woh aapki legacy hai. Aap 500 run banaye and qualify na karein toh woh sirf aapke record main aata hai, baaki criticism jab puri team ko milti hain toh aapko bhi milta hai.”
India will begin their T20 World Cup campaign on Sunday against Pakistan in Melbourne.