Virat Kohli’s form has been scratchy. The former Indian skipper, who was amongst the top run-scorer across the three formats at one point in 2019 has not registered a triple-digit figure in three years. Over the last five ODIs, Kohli has not registered a 20+ score, making his form a big concern for team India.
In the T20I format as well, Kohli’s form was underwhelming in the series against England, with scores of just 1 and 11 in the two T20Is that he played. However, former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting showed no concern over Kohli’s form, stating that it only a matter of time before the 33-year-old finds a way to rebound and respond.
"I think if I was an opposition captain or an opposition player, I will be fearing playing an Indian team that has Virat Kohli in it, more than I would be one that doesn't have him in it," Ponting told The ICC Review
"I know there have been some challenges for him, it's been a difficult time. But every great player that I have seen in this game has been through it at some stage, whether that's a batsman or a bowler, they have all been through it. And somehow, the best find a way to rebound and respond, and it's only a matter of time before Virat does that."
Donning the Indian coach’s thinking hat, Ponting suggested that India should use him in his most comfortable position in the white-ball formats without adding more pressure on the right-hander.
"If I was India, I would keep pushing with him, because I know the upside. If they actually get him back confident and playing as well as he can, that upside is better than most. So I think if I was a captain or a coach around the Indian setup, I'd be making life as easy as possible for him to feel as comfortable as possible, and just wait for him to flick the switch and start scoring runs again."
"Early in the tournament, for a first-round game, get him in nice and early, among the runs, and then hopefully by the end of the tournament you'll have Virat Kohli back at his best," Ponting said.
Shouldn't move Kohli around the batting order
Ponting was having none of the ‘drop Kohli’ campaign, suggesting that a tournament doesn’t pan out that way and India should try to give as much playing time as possible to the Indian No.3 during the tournament to get him in form.
"That's the way I would look at it. I wouldn't think about holding him back at the start of the tournament, with the thought that you might be able to bring him back towards the back end and have him peak. Tournament play isn't like that. You need to work your way into the tournament, get some runs under your belt, and get some confidence and then be playing your best cricket at the back end."
Unlike others who suggested a move to the top of the order for Kohli, Ponting was of the opinion that the management should just assert a batting position for Kohli and stick with that throughout the tournament without too many changes.
"Moving him around, to me, will make him feel that people are worried about him, and he will be more unsettled. I will be going the other way. I'll be telling him, 'This is your spot, this is where you're batting, it's not going to change. Keep believing in yourself, keep putting in the hard work, keep understanding what made you the best player in the world for a number of years. Get back to those thoughts and the runs will come.’”