From Rohit Sharma, Jos Buttler to Babar Azam, Virat Kohli is getting support from all corners. The right-handed batter has now gone 77 consecutive international innings without reaching three figures, after scores of 1 and 11 in the T20I series and failures in the rescheduled fifth Test. Kohli has not hit a century since 2019.
On Friday, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has extended his support to the out-of-form Virat Kohli.
Babar took it to Twitter and wrote a heartfelt message to former India captain Virat Kohli, who is finding it difficult to get going at the moment.
— Babar Azam (@babarazam258) July 14, 2022
“This too shall pass. Stay strong. #ViratKohli.” Babar wrote on Twitter.
Babar’s post was lauded by former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi. He called Babar’s gesture ‘incredible’ but said Kohli should have responded to the tweet.
“Be it cricket or any other sport, it improves relations (between countries). Athletes can do a much better job at it than politicians and a number of them are doing the same,” Afridi was quoted as saying by SAMAA TV.
“Babar has given across an incredible message. I don’t know if there has been a response from the other side. I think Virat should have responded by now. It would be a very big thing if there is a response to Babar’s tweet, but I don’t think that is going to happen,” he added.
When Babar was asked about his tweet on the eve of the Galle Test against Sri Lanka, the Pakistan captain said: “I know how a player goes through this phase and how he comes out of it. The player needs support during this period. He’s one of the best and he knows how to come out of it. It takes a bit of time.”
But you will be remembered for this.
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) July 15, 2022
However, former India pacer Irfan Pathan has responded to Babar Azam’s tweet and he wrote: “But you will be remembered for this.”
After missing the first ODI against England with a groin injury, Kohli made just 16 in the second match, which India lost by 100 runs at Lord’s.
Team India captain Rohit Sharma, who stood up for his teammate ahead of the first ODI, has again backed Virat Kohli and told reporters: “Virat Kohli doesn’t need reassurance from him as he is too good a player.”
“Why is there even a debate or discussion on Virat Kohli’s form. Like i said in the last press conference. When someone is scoring consistently for so long, we can’t overlook his contribution if he is not scoring in one or two series or in one or two years. We know the importance of Virat Kohli,” said Rohit.
England captain Jos Buttler, too, had extended his support for Virat Kohli after the second ODI.
“I am incredibly surprised by the criticism he is getting,” said Buttler.
After winning the first ODI by ten wickets, India suffered a 100-run loss in the second. The decider of the three-match ODI series will be played at Old Trafford on Sunday.