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Talk about strike rates as much as you want, Virat Kohli knows how to win matches: Misbah-ul-Haq

Talk about strike rates as much as you want, Virat Kohli knows how to win matches Misbah-ul-Haq

Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)

Former Pakistan cricketer Misbah-ul-Haq discussed Virat Kohli’s performance against Pakistan during 2022 T20 World Cup and how world-class players like him cope up with pressure. It was a Kohli classic that bailed India out of trouble and trump their arch-rivals in Melbourne in a tricky run-chase in a come-from-behind fashion. Misbah reckoned that Kohli is a player who delivers best when he is put under pressure and that is one of the reasons he has such an impressive record in multi-team tournaments.

“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. 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 said while previewing India vs Pakistan match at the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup on Star Sports Press Room.

Also read: Harbhajan Singh endorses Virat Kohli to lead RCB again

”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. 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.”

Misbah also spoke on the strike rate conundrum with players like Babar Azam and Kohli, suggesting that irrespective of what he players may suggest, they are affected by the opinions of those on the outside. While Babar and Kohli have been not just their respective team’s but the format’s most prolific scorers, they both have been questioned from time to time over their intent and approach in the shortest format. Misbah, however, brushed aside all such concerns, claiming that high-calibre players use their naysayers’ words as a fuel to improve their game.

Also read: Mohammad Rizwan credits Virat Kohli after match-winning show against Ireland

“Even if you talk about Babar, outside noise definitely affects you when you hear it. But there are good players, who are mentally strong and the best players in the world are the ones who take motivation from it and they show them how they can give an answer on the ground. They [players like Babar and Kohli] take motivation from those voices and criticism and hopefully he can bat like that when the team requires him to do so. If they don’t, and he needs to be an anchor, you have to keep telling yourself that if the situation comes, I can play at a 160, 170 or a 200 strike rate as well when the team needs me. Only then am I world class. It’s not that I’ll play at a strike rate of 130 when the team needs to score 200. So, this will be important for Babar in this World Cup.”


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