Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Wasim Akram reacts to Virat Kohli’s strike-rate chatter: ‘If you’re scoring a century at a SR of 150…’

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On Saturday, the Royal Challengers Bengaluru clinched an important four-wicket win over Gujarat Titans to keep their playoff qualification chances alive in IPL 2024. The RCB, chasing a modest 153-run target, faced a hiccup after a solid start from Virat Kohli (42) and Faf du Plessis (62), as the latter’s wicket triggered a batting collapse with six batters falling within 25 runs. However, Dinesh Karthik held his nerves alongside Swapnil Singh to steer the RCB to win.

Virat Kohli plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Gujarat Titans(PTI)

Throughout the season, Kohli has been the most consistent batter for the Royal Challengers and is also the current Orange Cap holder, with 542 runs to his name in 11 games. However, there have been concerns over his strike rate with many former cricketers criticising his pace of scoring in the season so far. Kohli has a strike rate of 148.08, and following RCB’s win last week against GT, the batter stated that he doesn’t bother himself over the criticism on strike rates.

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“All the people who talk about strike rates and me not playing spin well are the ones who love talking about this stuff. But for me, it’s just about winning the game for the team. And there’s a reason why you do it for 15 years – because you’ve done this day in [and] day out; you’ve won games for your teams,” Kohli had said.

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has now come in support of Kohli, stating that the RCB great is being unnecessarily criticised. The Pakistan pace bowling legend insisted that Kohli faces significant pressure as the fellow batters in the RCB lineup have failed to compliment him in the ongoing season.

“What criticism is he getting? That his team is losing. If the guy is scoring 100 at 150 strike rate, isn’t it fine? If the team had won, there wouldn’t have been criticism. Kohli was under pressure when he was captain, and he is under pressure even now. He is scoring, but one player cannot win the match. Criticising him unnecessarily… it’s not fair. In the long run, Kohli has a lot of cricket left, RCB will have to think why their performances were so inconsistent even after 16 years. Their batting is still fine, but their bowlers are weak,” Akram told Sportskeeda.

“Some people say that the ground is short. But you know that already. Pick players according to that only. It is the same ground where I played a Test in 1987. It’s the same ground now.”

No role for anchors

Wasim Akram also stated that this year’s IPL is a sign that anchors’ role is diminishing rapidly in modern-day T20s. He said that the batters are expected to go on an all-out attack from ball one.

“If you look at this IPL, it feels like it’s over. The way teams are scoring 270s, it looks like it. People are calling an anchor slow even when the strike rate is 150. When you look at the pitches and the performances, it looks like it. You got to hit from the first ball, you can’t stop,” said Akram.

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