'Hope that we see Virat Kohli back at his best in the ICC T20 World Cup' - Ricky Ponting
Virat Kohli has not been in the best of forms for nearly three years. However, he has been promising so far in the Asia Cup 2022. Ricky Ponting is hoping for him to be at his best during the ICC T20 World Cup 2022.
On Wednesday, legendary former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting believed that former Indian skipper and top-order batter Virat Kohli made the correct decision by taking a month-long break from cricket. Following up his 35 against Pakistan during India's opening game in the 2022 Asia Cup, Kohli hammered an eloquent unbeaten 44-ball 59 against Hong Kong at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday. It was his second Twenty20 International (T20I) half-century since scoring 52 against the Windies in Kolkata on February 18.
During the ICC Review, Ponting said, "I hope we see him back at his best and in the World Cup. I'd rather see Virat come out here [in Australia] and be one of the leading players in the tournament, but make sure he doesn't score many runs against Australia when they play!"
Ponting commented following India's five-wicket victory against Pakistan on Sunday. Kohli had taken a month-long break from the sport and scored an unbeaten 34-ball 35 against the arch-rivals. "First and foremost, great to see him back among the runs. I was not surprised that he did it in a run chase. We've always known that about him. His record suggests he is better when his team is chasing runs," added Ponting.
"When I saw his runs and then read on social media over the last few days, it sounded like he found himself in quite a dark place. Like many of us men, he wasn't willing to talk about it and share it. It sounds like when he has started to share and talk, it might have just freed him up a bit, and he started to feel better about himself again," Ponting continued.
When asked if Ponting had faced something similar, he reckoned: "I don't think I can quite relate to the 'intensity'. The game suddenly seems too hard when things aren't well, and you're not scoring the runs you used to achieve. I faced it in the last couple of years when my career tapered off quite quickly. It was almost the harder I worked, the worse I got."
"I was so focused and conscious on being perfect and doing things exactly right, thinking I had to do that to get the best out of myself, but all I was doing was putting pressure on myself and not letting myself play the game the way I always played it. I reckon it might also be a bit of that creeping in with Virat," speculated Ponting.
"It's just human nature when things aren't going how you want, you push harder, you try harder, and the harder you try, the harder it gets," Ponting affirmed. Ponting also accepts that Kohli needed a prolonged break to reset himself. "One thing I'll say about, as international cricketers, and probably more so with the modern Indian players, the amount of cricket they're playing internationally and the IPL, you can quite often bluff yourself that you're feeling good and that you are fresh, that you have got plenty of energy," clarified Ponting.
"Because when you're tired, you must tell yourself that because you've got to get up and play the next day again. It's not until you have stopped and have a few days off, or you have a week away, that you realise how tired physically and mentally you are," Ponting asserted.
"For someone like Virat, having a week off was no good. Because he has taken that month off to get away, to regather his thoughts, get himself back where we think he is in the right space mentally, there are lots of good signs there," concluded Ponting.
(With inputs from PTI)