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With class and experience like that, you can’t replace Virat Kohli: Ricky Ponting | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Ricky Ponting, the legendary cricketer from Australia, expressed his confusion about Indians trying to “find reasons” not to select Virat Kohli for the national team, saying that the charismatic former captain would be his “first pick” for the T20 World Cup in the Americas.
With 708 runs from 14 innings, Kohli leads the run table thanks to his outstanding play in the current IPL, but concerns about his strike rate at the top of the order continue to surface.
“He (Kohli) is the first pick for me for India. So, class and experience like that, you can’t replace.
“It’s funny with Virat. I think people in India just always try to find a reason not to pick him or a reason why he’s maybe not as good as some of these other guys in the T20 game,” the former Australian captain and Delhi Capitals head coach told ICC.
At the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the USA next month, Ponting believes that Kohli should open the innings with skipper Rohit Sharma because players like Suryakumar Yadav and others can set up a high run rate later in the innings.
“They (selectors) have still got a decision to make (on the opening pair) because (Yashasvi) Jaiswal is in that squad and one thing they haven’t got a lot in their team is left-hand batters.
“So they’ve got a decision to make with Jaiswal (batting position), but I’m pretty sure that they’ll go with Kohli and Rohit Sharma (as openers),” added Ponting.
“He can play his role at the top. And if you’ve got the right guys around him scoring (like) Suryakumar (Yadav)… Rohit Sharma’s going to have a high strike rate. These other guys can go in there and play their way.”
With six straight victories to help PCB into the playoffs, Kohli has amassed eight centuries in the IPL overall in addition to five half-tons this season.
Even though Kohli’s strike rate of 155.60 this season has received a lot of attention, it is the highest in his 17 years of playing for the Royal Challengers Bengaluru, a sign that he is adapting and working hard to get it even higher.
The three-time World Cup champion Ponting stated that while strike rates may have surpassed averages recently, Kohli’s value to the Indian squad should never be undervalued.
“The mantra I think for the teams three or four years ago, was making sure that someone at the top of the order made 80 or 100, even if it took them 60 balls, it didn’t really matter.
“I think it’s sort of shifting now to be more of a strike rate based game where you can have a massive impact on a game with a 40 off 15 balls rather than getting an 80 off 55 balls sort of thing,” added Ponting.
With an undefeated 82 against Pakistan and a half-century against England in the semifinals, Kohli was crucial to India’s performance in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. Ponting stated that the veteran batsman was the most trustworthy player when it came to crucial moments.
“I remember having this chat and some other chats I did for the ICC about there’s some talk about Virat not being in their team only last year, but what happened when the big games come around, he was one of the guys who got the job done.”


(With PTI inputs)

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