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‘Virat Kohli should not be criticised… never seen play sweep shot but…’: Rayudu, Harbhajan destroy strike rate critics

Ambati Rayudu and Harbhajan Singh destroyed Virat Kohli’s strike rate critics with a brilliant analogy ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Prior to IPL 2024, there were question marks about Virat Kohli’s batting approach in T20s. The debate heightened due to the scheduling of the T20 World Cup, which will take place right after IPL. Many fans and experts felt that his presence in Team India’s roster could be a disadvantage to their strategy.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s Virat Kohli plays a shot.(AFP)

But the veteran batter has silenced his critics and is currently leading in the Orange Cap race. Despite that, a debate on his strike rate has surfaced on social media and cricket shows on television.

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Also Read | Virat Kohli’s ‘greatness in world cricket’ elaborated after RCB legend’s ‘slog sweep’ response to strike rate debate

The former RCB captain then made it his mission to put the debate to an end with much aplomb against Punjab Kings. Kohli smacked 92 runs off 47 balls, packed with seven fours and six sixes, at a strike rate of 195.74, taking his side to 241/7 in 20 overs. It proved to be key as PBKS crumbled for 181 in 17 overs.

Defending Kohli on Star Sports, IPL legend Ambati Rayudu shut down his critics with a brilliant take on the RCB star’s playing style. Speaking to Hindustan Times, he said, “I think about the strike rate. It entirely depends on the surface and the given match. You cannot have a collective strike rate and really criticise anybody for that. On a given day, if you are batting under par, you say you need to score 200 and with your strike rate, you can only score 160, then you should be criticised.”

“But on a given day, you can only score 140, like how Ruturaj got 40 off 40, that’s a crucial knock. I think collective stats should not really be taken into consideration and Virat Kohli has been batting beautifully and specially against spinners this year, he has been playing those slog sweeps onside and I don’t think he should be criticised. He should not be criticised for any format, anywhere in the world,” he added.

‘Virat Kohli a champion player for India’: Harbhajan

Meanwhile, India legend Harbhajan Singh also supported Rayudu’s take on Kohli. “He is a champion player for India. I think he showed a lot of intent in the middle overs against the spinners as Rayudu mentioned. Never seen him playing those sweep shots. Now he is playing those sweep shots over midwicket. That goes on to show that he is trying. Even though he is Virat Kohli, he is still trying to be better than Virat Kohli, you know what we have seen. As long as people are their best, they shouldn’t be criticised,” he said.

Kohli is on top of the Orange Cap race with 661 runs in 13 matches, consisting of a ton and five half-centuries, at a strike rate of 155.16. Among the top-ten highest Indian run-scorers this season, Kohli has the second-best strike rate, only behind Sanju Samson’s 158.30. He boasts a better strike rate than the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad (141.50), Sai Sudharsan (141.28) and Riyan Parag (153.82).

Kohli is also the main reason behind RCB’s comeback this season. After a disastrous start, they are back on track and are fifth in the points table with 12 points in 13 matches. They are also on a five-match winning streak. They face Chennai Super Kings at home in their final league game of the season, and can still qualify for the playoffs.


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