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Kohli wary of Rabada threat despite Proteas injuries

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 23:20 IST
KagisoRabada - cropped
South Africa bowler Kagiso Rabada

Virat Kohli is taking little encouragement from South Africa's injury woes as he is aware of the damage Kagiso Rabada could do to India.

The Proteas are set to be without Lungi Ngidi (hamstring) against India on Wednesday, while Dale Steyn has been ruled out of the Cricket World Cup with a shoulder injury.

But Kohli, preparing to play for the first time at the 2019 tournament, believes Rabada is more than capable of making up for his team-mates' absences.

"Look, whether Ngidi plays, or Steyn plays or not, Rabada is always going to be a world-class bowler and a threat to any side he plays against," Kohli told a news conference.

"He has the kind of passion and he has a kind of skillset that he can, on his day, go through any batting order, so we've played well against him in the past and that is only because we have been respectful of his skills.

"But at the same time, we have been assured and sure of what we want to do as batsmen.

"So against guys like Rabada, who can turn up on their day and bowl outstandingly well, you have to be respectful but have that self-belief in yourself as well and that balance will be crucial.

"Whether he plays with Dale and Ngidi or by himself, he is going to be a skillful bowler. We always need to respect that and find ways of scoring against him."


Rabada has suggested that Kohli is "immature" due to his response to sledging between the pair, but the India captain was not interested in taking a feud public on Tuesday.

He told reporters: "I played against [Rabada] many times and if anything needs to be discussed, we can discuss it man-to-man. I'm not using a press conference to answer anything."

Kohli scored centuries in his opening matches at the past two World Cups and, while team success is the priority, he says he is ready to do so again if required.

"My focus is that, if I'm in a position to be able to do that again, but more importantly make the team win, that will be my goal," he said.

"And if it takes 100 runs, 150, 50, 60, 70, 40, whatever it is, I'm ready to do that and that's the frame of mind I'm going to be in."

Published 04 Jun 2019, 21:18 IST
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