Legendary batter Sunil Gavaskar has heaped praise on India captain Virat Kohli for his 57-run knock against arch-rivals Pakistan in their T20 World Cup match here, saying it was a “terrific innings” under difficult circumstances.
Kohli’s 49-ball 57, which was laced with five fours and a six, went in vain as India lost to Pakistan by 10 wickets in their Super 12 match here on Sunday.
That was Pakistan’s maiden victory over India in any World Cup.
However, Gavaskar, a former India captain and opener, praised Kohli for the way he set up the innings.
“It was a terrific innings because India had lost their openers in the powerplay itself, so there was a greater sense of responsibility on Kohli’s shoulders because he now had to pace the innings, repair the innings and also get India to a total which they could hope to defend,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports show ‘Follow the Blues’.
“So, the way he (Kohli) paced his innings, the way he chose the shots to break free at times and the six that he hit off Shaheen Afridi. Absolutely amazing talent,” quipped the 72-year-old batting legend.
Gavaskar also had words of praise for Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi’s terrific spell, which rattled the Indian top-order in the blockbuster match.
“The way Shaheen Afridi was bowling, he was mixing it up quite well, he was angling the ball across the right hand and he was getting the ball to turn back in after pitching, not so much in the air because you don’t get that much help in the UAE,” he said.
“That’s why it was important for Kohli to try and step out so that he would be able to then negate the amount of swing that Shaheen Afridi was getting and that’s how he was able to negotiate that and score runs off Shaheen Afridi.”
Former India batter VVS Laxman said that the Ravi Shastri- coached team can take three lessons from their defeat to Pakistan.
“I think the three important lessons from this match would be not to lose wickets early on, especially in the powerplay.
That’s very critical, you want to capitalize on the powerplay and make use of the fielding restrictions,” said Laxman, a former Test specialist.
“The second lesson is, like batting, you don’t want to lose wickets and while bowling you are required to pick up wickets and that’s very critical, especially if you’re defending a par score or probably a below par score,” he added.
According to Laxman, the Indian bowlers did not bowl according to the conditions on offer.
“The third thing will be the length of the bowlers, when you’re looking to pick up wickets it’s important to use your variations.
“But I just felt that the bowlers bowled a bit short and they didn’t bowl to the conditions which were on offer.”