It is not often that Virat Kohli notches up an ODI century and yet the fans troll and criticize him, raising questions over the tempo of his innings, after all, he’s arguably the greatest ODI batsman of all-time and one of the best judger of pitch and conditions.
Even as most of the fans celebrated his incredible feat of equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries, a section of fans criticized him and some even called him “selfish”. However, Virat Kohli, without sounding arrogant, in his own way explained why he batted the way he batted.
Kohli notched his 49th ODI hundred on Sunday against South Africa at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on a pitch that he said “was tricky to bat on” with the ball “gripping and turning”. Virat Kohli ended up unbeaten on 101 off 121 balls, with India’s total being 326/5, which seemed well above-par on a tough surface.
However, fans believe that Virat Kohli got “selfish” for his century and for the record of 49 ODI tons: Kohli was 75 off 95 and then scored his next 26 runs in 26 balls, mostly dealing in singles and doubles.
My role was to bat deep: Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli explained that on such a pitch, the management of Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid have told him to bat till the end while others around him will play in an attacking manner. This is exactly how it happened as Suryakumar Yadav scored 22 runs in 14 balls and Ravindra Jadeja scored 29 runs in 15 balls.
He said: “It was a tricky wicket to bat on. We got a great start through Rohit (Sharma) and Shubman, and then when I got in, my job was to keep that momentum going, but as soon as the ten overs got over, the ball started gripping and the wicket started slowing down as the ball got older.
“Our roles are different – me and Shreyas (Iyer), we wanted to string in a partnership, and to be honest, as soon as we lost Shubman and Rohit within ten overs, my role was to bat deep and bat till the end because that’s what I have done over the years and that’s what the communication from the team management was as well; I bat and guys bat around me and then Shreyas started hitting a few. So, we were not thinking that we would get 327 (326) but that’s what happens when you dig deep and you take the game into the last few overs then you can get a few more than you thought.”