“You Can Talk About Strike-Rate…”: Pakistan Great Sides With ‘Match-Winner’ Virat Kohli, Slams Critics

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Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has opened up on star batter Virat Kohli’s form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). The former batter praised Kohli for his strong mentality, especially in crunch games against the best teams in the world. Amid debate over his strike-rate and batting intent in IPL 2024, Misbah threw his weight behind the RCB icon, and explained what makes Kohli a match-winner. Kohli is leading run-getter in this season’s IPL so far, amassing 661 runs at a strike rate of 155.16 from 13 matches.

Despite the IPL 2024 Orange Cap sitting on his head, experts have often criticised Kohli for his batting intent. Even former India captain Sunil Gavaskar questioned his strike-rate after RCB had lost seven of their first eight league matches.

However, Misbah refused to side with the critics as he praise Kohli for putting up outstanding numbers every season.

“Virat Kohli performed well in all the matches, against many teams, and especially against Pakistan. He played such an innings at a crucial stage that he caused a lot of damage to Pakistan. So even in Pakistan’s mind, there is a mentality, there’s a supremacy, and even in Kohli’s mind, he knows that he can perform well against Pakistan. He’s such a player that when the occasion is big, instead of taking pressure, he takes motivation from it. Whenever there was a pressure situation and the team was in a bad situation, I used to feel like I had to do something. And this is a factor in Virat as well, and he is a top-class cricketer. So to play against a team like India, like we did in the Champions Trophy, Pakistan or any team has to get him out early,” Misbah said on ‘Star Sports Press Room’.

The 49-year-old also slammed Kohli’s critics and said that when he is in the middle, the opposition is always under pressure.

“You can talk about strike rates as much as you want, but he’s a player who knows how to win a match and is used to it. If he is at the crease, then there is no situation or position where you are safe,” he added.

With India and Pakistan set to face off in the T20 World Cup next month, Misbah signed off by saying: “Everyone feels the pressure of playing in the India-Pakistan match. Whenever I used to play against India, if the start was good, I was confident and comfortable that I would perform. It’s in the player’s muscle memory and mind that when you perform well, you really have a big impact on the match, and the position you are in during the match also has an influence,” Misbah further explained.

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