What’s the story?
Panesar told India Today, “I think they have got a chance of winning the tournament. Obviously, Virat Kohli did not have a great IPL so he's going to be really hungry to perform in this big tournament. Kohli is a key player and he loves performing on the big stage. He's been a match-winner for Team India and I am sure he's very very hungry to score runs in England.”
Panesar also added that the Pakistan tie will be the best game for Kohli to roar back to form.
"I think he's not going to put too much pressure on himself, he'll probably do what he does best. He loves the intensity, he loves competition and that gets the best out of him. Pakistan is the match to provide him with that environment,” he said.
Virat Kohli was not at his best at the recently concluded IPL. After missing the initial stages as he was recovering from a shoulder injury, he started off with a bang by scoring a half-century in his first game. However, he failed to keep the consistency going through the tournament and could amass only 308 runs from 10 matches. His team, RCB, also failed miserably as they finished bottom of the pile.
Now, he will be leading the Indian team at the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy, a tournament India had won back in 2013.
The heart of the matter
The Champions Trophy is going to be the first ICC tournament that Kohli will feature in as a captain. Clearly, it is going to be his biggest test yet. Panesar feels that although Kohli is often compared with the likes of Kane Williamson, Steve Smith and Joe Root, the Indian star is the most complete batsman in world cricket at the moment.
The retired left-arm spinner also spoke about BCCI opening applications for the head coach despite the fact that Anil Kumble has done such a wonderful job. Panesar opined that Kumble should be given an automatic extension after the performances of the Indian team in the last year or so.
Team India will play two warm-up matches against New Zealand and Bangladesh on 28 May 2017 and 30 May 2017 before they begin their title defence against arch-rivals Pakistan in Birmingham on June 4, 2017.
India are one of the strongest teams in the world at the moment and they do have a great chance of defending their title if the big players can show up. However, Kohli will have to be at his best and lead the batting line-up from the front.Published 27 May 2017, 13:22 IST