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Hayden outlines brighter side to Kohli-Gavaskar row over strike rate: ‘Dangerous athlete is one that’s been wounded’

Legendary Australia batter Matthew Hayden suggested that he is not surprised by Virat Kohli silencing his critics.

Virat Kohli has been in incredible form in the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League and somehow managed to reinvent himself as a modern-day T20 batter by displaying his power game in the last few matches. Kohli, who has been leading the Orange Cap tally, faced criticism after the initial stage of IPL regarding his strike rate as he was failing to up the ante in the middle overs of the innings.

Virat Kohli has up his ante in the last few matches.(AFP)

However, Kohli silenced his critics by taking on the spinners in the last few matches and playing at a healthy strike rate throughout his innings. In the last three matches, Kohli has scored 40-plus scores at a strike rate of over 150 and smashed 92 against Punjab Kings while striking the ball at 196.74.

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The RCB batting maestro also took sly digs at critics on a couple of occasions in the post-match press conference who questioned his intent. However, he also faced backlash for that from former India batting great Sunil Gavaskar.

Meanwhile, legendary Australia batter Matthew Hayden suggested that he is not surprised by Kohli coping with the criticism.

“I understand from a fan’s point of view that Virat Kohli has copped a bit of criticism around the strike-rate. It’ll always be the case because, he’s a very conventional cricketer. He’s a very technical cricketer, which makes him a great across all three formats.”

“He’s an extremely fit warrior. So he’ll be able to take games deep in Test match cricket, one day cricket and in fact, T20 cricket as well,” said Hayden on Star Sports.

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The legendary batter asserted that Kohli did his business to silence the critics and worked on the shortcomings which were constantly getting pointed out in the media;

“But one of the big concerns that we’ve all had is through the middle. And so, like all great champions, if there is something out there in the media or there’s something where you can feel yourself to improve, then you get about making your business to do so. And I sense that that’s exactly what’s happened to Virat Kohli this season,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kohli has also been picked in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup where he is expected to bat at the number 3 spot. He has batted at the same spot in the past, but his strike rate against spinners was a big topic of concern; however, he has managed to shun with his batting approach in IPL.

“You know, those middle phases being that 138 strike-rate against spin, that’s critical for India because international sides they’ll line up with spin. Every side will have two, sometimes three spinners as their resource, and they’ll use it to slow down a Kohli who, inside that powerplay has got such a huge energy and momentum and creates great pressure on opposition,” said Hayden.

Hayden further gave examples of former cricketers while suggesting that if players with high quality got poked then they make sure they hit back hard with their performances.

“So, I love the way that it’s fueled his fire and fueled some improvement and, you know, look out. A dangerous athlete is one that’s been wounded. There have been a few in my lifetime that I can remember.”

“Steve Waugh never used to have a word to him. Kevin Pietersen, he used to love the pressure. Brian Lara, Don’t talk to him. Why would you do that? He’ll just smash you. So, guys that are of that kind of quality, if you try and needle them, all they do is get better,” said Hayden.


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