“Virat Kohli’s form lasts not just for a few innings or sets, but for several years”

Former Indian batter Wasim Jaffer says Virat Kohli, starting the year with a century, is an excellent sign for the Men in Blue in a World Cup year. Jaffer also believes the 33-year-old has reaped the rewards of his hard work off the field after a lean 2022.

Kohli scored his 45th ODI hundred as India piled 373 in the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Guwahati. The 33-year-old’s 113 against Bangladesh in December 2022 meant he became the second-highest century getter in international cricket. His strike against Sri Lanka on Tuesday was the highest number of ODI tonnes at home alongside Sachin Tendulkar.

Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, Jaffer said he expects Kohli’s excellent form to remain intact for a long time to come. The 44-year-old recalled a few dropped Sri Lankan catches in front of the former Indian captain’s at-bat and explained that it made up for the bad luck he had endured during his difficult spell.

“He finished 2022 at a hundred and started 2023 at a century. We’ve always found that Virat Kohli’s form isn’t just for a few innings or series, it’s for years. India will hope Kohli maintains that form provided there is a World Cup year and it is a crucial tournament for India. Kohli’s form is a great sign in that regard.”

“You also create your own happiness. During his rough patch we saw some great catches being made and some touch and go decisions going against him. We all know how hard Kohli works on his fitness and gameplay. So, all those things matter and it pays off. It looks like all of that effort is now paying off handsomely for Kohli.

Sri Lankan right arm sailor Kasun Rajitha fell victim to an accident when Kusal Mendis and Dasun Shanaka threw down easy catches from Kohli’s racquet. However, the Delhi-born player looked to songs from the start and reached his century with 80 balls, making it to back-to-back centuries in the 50-over format.

“If that’s the approach, it’s going to be great” – Wasim Jaffer on India’s aggressive batting in Guwahati

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill added 143 runs. (Image credit: Twitter)
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill added 143 runs. (Image credit: Twitter)

When asked for his opinion on Rohit Sharma’s 67-ball 83, Jaffer said it was good to see the skipper batting aggressively, in contrast to his original approach to ODI cricket. Jaffer believes the changed outlook should help India consistently aim for higher than usual scores, as observed in the first ODI.

“This approach was good to see as all batsmen were hitting aggressively and maintaining excellent batting rates, especially Rohit Sharma who often takes a bit of time to get going. Even in T20s he started taking some risks early but prefers to take his time in 50-overs cricket. But he’s been proactive in those innings and that’s a good thing. When we see England’s current side and compete with them or how Australia are playing, it’s a great sign that all batsmen want to make quick runs.”

“India used to often only do 300-310, but now I think the Indian team is playing and keeping a higher goal in mind and playing like that. Virat Kohli also scored his hundred of 80 balls. It shows the level of hitting is one Gone up a notch and gotta do it like I said it’s a World Cup year India will play at home wickets will be good to take if that’s the approach it’s going to be great.

Kohli’s 87-ball 113 earned him the Player of the Match award as India started the series with a 67-run win.

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