New Delhi: Virat Kohli has got back his “power game” and things have started falling in place for him ahead of the T20 World Cup, feels former India Test cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar.
Kohli had endured a lean patch for nearly three years before he decided to take a month-long mental health break while reinventing himself during last month’s Asia Cup.
He finished as India’s highest run-getter and since then continued his good form in the just-concluded T20s against Australia, where his half-century in the series decider gave glimpses of vintage Kohli that the fans have been yearning to see.
“…right from the Asia Cup every match that he (Kohli) got runs, not just the runs, there was some improvement coming. I think the power game is back. He is trusting his power game,” Manjrekar told in Sports 18’s ‘Sports Over The Top’ show.
“There was a time when he was getting runs but his power game was not coming at his beck and call. That is starting to happen,” Manjrekar said.
“The fact that he is being able to hit good balls for boundaries is a welcome sign, said Manjrekar.
“He is dispatching good balls for big boundaries and sixes. It’s all about confidence. This is a guy who’s damn self-confident and drives himself to excellence but for long-time runs weren’t coming and his confidence was tender.”
Kohli was the second highest overall run-getter in the Asia Cup, scoring 276 in five innings at an average of 92.00, a strike rate of 147.59 with two half-centuries and a ton.
“During the Asia Cup, slowly and steadily, certain things start to happen, the pull shots came in, and the sixes started going more into the stands than just going over the rope as it was going in the IPL. So, the pieces falling back to frame the perfect picture. Now it’s all about putting all these kinds of performances in the main event,” he added.
In the following three-match T20 series against Australia at home, which India won 2-1, Kohli totalled 76 runs from three innings at an average of 25.33, with 63 being his highest individual score.
Seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel, who made a comeback from injury, leaked runs in the series against Australia, ending with an economy rate of 12 plus.
And Manjrekar pointed out the reasons behind the duo’s lacklustre performances.
“Bhuvneshwar is over-worked”
The cricketer-turned-commentator feels Bhuvneshwar is overworked.
“With Bhuvneshwar Kumar, it’s never a very simple answer but you’ve got to give one of the simple answers and one of the main reasons why Bhuvi seems to be off the boil – is playing too much cricket. In the sense, that he’s played all the matches coming into this series as well,” he said.
“The Bhuvneshwar Kumar I have seen over the years, he’s not one of the strongest guys going around, he’s not somebody who takes a lot of workload, he plays one format and hardly any other.
“He’s somebody if you notice, barring injury, if he comes later a break to play in any tournament, he is at his best in the first few games. So, I am going to put down Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s current performance to just match fatigue.”
Manjrekar said Harshal has limitations as a pacer.