While the rivalry and result will take care of themselves on Sunday when the two teams line up in the UAE, it’s Kohli who has been the centre of attraction, especially for the die-hard fans of the former India captain.
TimesofIndia.com made an attempt to reach out to the fans of Indian cricket and Kohli, seeking their opinion via a series of five questions as part of a poll, which yielded the below results:
QUESTION 1 – The break would have rejuvenated Virat mentally and he can fire in the Asia Cup. – Agree or Disagree?
Kohli has recently opened up about the mental demons he had been fighting at one point in his life. In that light, it was a welcome break that he had before donning the India jersey again at the T20 Asia Cup 2022.
Along expected lines, 2824 voters agreed, while 1414 disagreed that the break would do any good for Kohli returning to form.
QUESTION 2 – Since Kohli has no issues with technique as such, finding his way out of the current slump is way more difficult than what he faced in 2014 – Agree or Disagree
Kohli hasn’t scored an international century since November, 2019. His last hundred for India was registered on November 23, 2019, during the pink-ball Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata. But since then he has steadily been among the runs for India. In fact, in T20I cricket since November 2019, Virat is the second highest run-getter for India after Rohit Sharma. However, the really big consistent scores, which he had become synonymous with over the years, earning the tag of run-machine, is what have eluded him.
And this phase, believe fans, is a lot tougher for Kohli to come out of compared to 2014, when he struggled with certain technique issues, especially on the tour of England.
2689 fans agreed that this was a bigger challenge for Virat, while 1509 disagreed with that opinion.
QUESTION 3 – Which bowler from the below list is likely to trouble Virat the most this time in the Asia Cup? (5 options)
The Asia Cup, which is a kind of Asian curtain-raiser for the T20 World Cup later this year, will feature some of the world’s finest bowling exponents, who can give Kohli a tough time.
The choices given in this question were – Pakistan pacers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf, Sri Lanka’s rising leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, Afghanistan leggie Rashid Khan and Bangladesh’s veteran all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
The most number of fans who took this poll voted for Rashid (1785 votes) as the one who could test Kohli the most.
544 fans voted for Shah, 608 for Rauf, 1056 for Hasaranga and 203 for Shakib.
QUESTION 4 – Virat has a great record against Pakistan, especially in T20Is. If he gets a big score in India’s opening match against Pakistan, will that see him break the shackles? – Yes or No.
Former India coach Ravi Shastri has said that if “he (Kohli) gets a fifty in the very first game, mouths will be shut for the rest of the tournament.” Fans seemed to completely agree with that.
The fans’ votes for this poll were overwhelmingly in favour of the ‘yes’ option (3265 votes). Only 925 fans went for the ‘No’ option.
QUESTION 5 – If Virat doesn’t find his lost touch in the Asia Cup, do you think there is a possibility of him not being picked for the T20 World Cup? -Yes or No.
The closest divided opinion reflected in the results of this part of the poll, possibly because of a lot of attacking batting options at the disposal of Indian selectors, thanks to the IPL. However, among those options there’s no one who can really match Kohli’s big-tournament experience.
2296 fans felt ‘Yes’, Kohli could be dropped if he has a lean Asia Cup, while 1882 said ‘No’, that won’t happen.