Team India head coach Rahul Dravid brushed aside concerns about Virat Kohli‘s age and fitness and said the star batter is “doing what he needs to do” to come out of his lean patch of form. Kohli has not hit a century in international cricket since November 2019, but Dravid insisted that he only wants “match-winning contributions” from the 33-year-old and that does not necessarily have to be in the form of hundreds. He also said that Kohli’s form is not due to a lack of motivation.
“I kind of disagree with you when you say he is in the wrong side of 30. He is probably in my opinion on the right side of 30,” Dravid said in response to a question in a press conference ahead of the rescheduled fifth Test against England.
“I think he is an incredibly fit guy. He is one of the most hard-working guys I have ever come across. His desire and hunger. His whole attitude in looking after himself, his preparation and even just the way he just played the game at Leicester, batting in those conditions, scoring the kind of 50, 60 that he did,” Dravid said.
Kohli hit scores of 33 and 67 during India’s tour game against Leicestershire, and looked in good nick.
“He was keen on batting against Bumrah and all of these guys. So, I think he is ticking all the right boxes. He is doing what he needs to do to sort of come out of it,” Dravid said.
“As players you go through these kind of phases. I don’t think you need motivation to be very honest. Don’t think in Virat’s case it is lack of motivation. You go through phases like this at times. Sometime you bat well…it’s not so much about focussing on those three figures but you know even a 70 in a difficult wicket in Cape Town…when we played at Cape Town, I thought that was very good innings,” he said.
Kohli had scored a gritty 79 in Cape Town during India’s tour of South Africa earlier in the year.
“It didn’t convert into a three figures score but it was a good score,” Dravid said.
“Obviously, a guy like him, the kind of standard that he set, the number of hundreds that he scored, people only see hundred as a success,” he said on how Kohli has set the benchmark high for himself.
“From a coach’s perspective, we only want contributions from him, we want match-winning contributions for him, whether that’s a 50, that’s a 60 on a wicket like that. Maybe tomorrow’s wicket, may be a 60 or a 70 could end up being a match-winning performance or it may not, we might need a big score for him. But yeah, from our perspective, there is not a lot of focus on three figures and whether he gets it,” Dravid said.
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