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‘I’ve been on the opposition…’: Steve Smith’s honest Virat Kohli verdict amid speculation on India great’s T20 WC fate

Steve Smith spoke in detail about India batter Virat Kohli’s credentials in the shortest format of the game

Earlier this month, it was reported that Virat Kohli may find it significantly difficult to book a place in the 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup. As unusual as it may sound, the report from The Telegraph mentioned that it was challenging to make a place for Kohli in the squad in the shortest format, and a lot would depend on how the star batter performs in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.

Steve Smith (L) speaks on Virat Kohli the T20 batter(File)

Kohli remained absent from the T20Is ever since the World Cup in 2022, but did make a comeback to the format earlier this year when India faced Afghanistan in a three-match series in January. In fact, Kohli wasn’t the only senior member to make a T20I return after a similar timeframe; Rohit Sharma, the Indian captain, had also been away from the format after the World Cup in Australia two years ago.

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The report of Kohli being potentially excluded from the T20 World Cup squad created shockwaves in the cricket community, but Australia’s star batter and Kohli’s contemporary, Steve Smith, believes that India need a player of Kohli’s calibre in high-pressure situations of the World Cup.

The T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in the United States and the West Indies in June this year.

“He plays the situation. Some wickets you play on, your strike rate doesn’t need to be high. You play according to what’s in front of you. We have seen Virat play some masterclass innings and get his team over the line, whether it has been RCB or India. I’ve been on the opposition in the Australian team when he has done this against us on numerous occasions,” Smith told Star Sports.

“What we know is that he plays extremely well under pressure. He loves that. It’s those players who you want in your team when you go into the World Cup and face pressure situations. You want the experienced players who stand up in those situations, and Virat is certainly one of those,” said the Australian batter further.

Kohli was the fourth-highest run-getter in the 2023 Indian Premier League, with 639 runs to his name in 14 matches at an impressive strike rate of 139.82. These also included two centuries and six fifties.

Set for return in IPL

The 35-year-old batting great has been away from action since the T20Is against Afghanistan. Kohli pulled out of the Test series against England to be with wife Anushka Sharma, as the couple welcomed their second child – Akaay – in March.

Kohli joined the Royal Challengers Bengaluru camp last week and also took part in the UnBox Event organised by the franchise at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday.


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