Last time India faced Pakistan, Virat Kohli produced a masterclass at the MCG, scoring 82 runs in 53 balls to help India win a nail-biting game against arch-rivals. On Saturday, India and Pakistan will lock horns in the ongoing Asia Cup. It will be the first meeting between the two sides in the one-day internationals since the 2019 OD World Cup.
Former India all-rounder Sanjay Bangar and batting coach Sanjay Bangar said that Virat Kohli will be ready for this match and also explained what would be his plans to counter the Pakistan’s pace trio of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah.
“Yes, Virat Kohli is ready for the Greatest Rivalry in world cricket, India versus Pakistan,” Bangar told Star Sports.
“The last time these two nations played, Virat came out with a special innings, and that shot versus Haris Rauf will be etched in the memories of cricket lovers for a long, long time.
“Now, what has Virat Kohli done in the last six to eight months? How has he come out of a little bit of a bad patch wherein he wasn’t scoring big runs? But now he has got into that habit of scoring big runs again,” he added.
Bangar also explained how Kohli has worked on his technique to get over his slump of form in the past few months.
“Generally, he was sort of lunging towards the ball, making a big stride forward, and because of that, he was getting out a lot in the slip cordon or also was getting out trapped in front of the wicket.
“So what is he doing now? He is setting up really nice and early, staying still, allowing the ball to come to him. That is one aspect which is going to help him big time, especially against Shaheen Shah Afridi because he gets the ball to swing in late. And if we are watching the ball, letting it come to you, you can actually play it down the ground or play it to mid-on or mid-wicket region; that is where his strength is.
“Against Naseem Shah, because he is not lunging forward, his judgement outside off stump is going to be perfect.
“And against Haris Rauf, who is sort of back of the length all the time, he can rock onto the back foot or play those pull shots which he did really well in the last Asia Cup.
“Against the spinners, he has his own methods of scoring runs. Against Shadab Khan, he will look to rock onto the back foot, play between point and cover region, a lot on the back foot.
“Against Mohammad Nawaz, he will look to use his feet because he is not afraid of doing that. And if the ball is pitched slightly short, then he can rock onto the back foot and explore that area on either side of the deep mid-wicket region.
“So that’s how Virat Kohli is going to counter the Pakistan bowling, and it is pretty guaranteed that the intensity he generates in these games is going to lift not only his game but also the intensity in this crucial match against Pakistan.”