It has been three days since Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 82 off 53 balls handed Pakistan a chastening defeat. But the buzz just doesn’t seem to die down. From social media to food joints to even airports, people have been harping about the magical night.
The masterly innings was also the talk of the Netherlands dressing room today. In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, Dan Christian revealed that Virat Kohli’s knock at the MCG was used as a case study for the associate nation. The Australia all-rounder last month was roped in as a consultant to the Dutch side.
The 39-year-old, who has played with Kohli across two seasons at the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), mentioned that the Netherlands batters are looking to imbibe the superstar's art of building an innings.
As for Daniel Christian, just how quickly the night changes. He was a travelling reserve for Australia at the 2021 T20 World Cup. He played nine games for RCB that season. And now, he’s passing on some invaluable information to his new protégés about their upcoming rivals. India will play the Netherlands at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on October 27.
But if you were at the Dutch practice today, you’d have mistaken Dan Christian for an active squad player. As the team finished their nets, a local security guard, pointing at the Aussie, asked this correspondent, “Is he a player?” The man, however, quickly justified himself: “Sorry, I don’t follow cricket.”
But he couldn’t be entirely blamed. Even before the team started with their warm-ups, Christian was fully geared up and was taking the net bowlers to the cleaners. As Scott Edwards’ boys got their training underway, you saw Christian running in to bowl. He even caught hold of the RoboArm ball thrower, before being one of the last individuals to leave the arena.
On his way out, he not only acknowledged the services of a net bowler, but also stopped and had a brief conversation with him. Whether the Netherlands get crucial inputs or not, they will definitely take home some professionalism and generosity from Dan Christian.
Excerpts from Dan Christian's exclusive interview with Sportskeeda
Q. You have been appointed consultant to the Netherlands team. Is it World Cup specific or is to make them look at the bigger picture?
Dan Christian: Probably a bit of both, yeah. I help them with their preparations for this World Cup. Obviously having played with and against a lot of the guys they are going to come up against, being able to offer a little bit of information about those guys helps.
Q. If you could name a few players who you think can make it big in the future?
Dan Christian: I have had a few weeks with them now. I have been really impressed with Bas de Leede, Tim Pringle, Max O’Dowd. The bowling attack has also been really good – Paul van Meekeren and Freddie Klaasen. I think all the guys have got the skills to play consistent international cricket and do well in international cricket. It’s just a case of being exposed to international cricket more and more often. And it’s been a great opportunity for them to play against Bangladesh the other day. We played a practice game against Afghanistan. Tomorrow night, it will be India. So these next couple of weeks are going to be massive for the guys. They would obviously want to do well but, even if they don’t do well, these experiences are going to be really valuable.
Q. Ahead of a big game like against India, is the pep talk about, ‘We have to, because it’ll be huge’ or is it like, ‘Let’s go out there and enjoy ourselves’?
Dan Christian: Yeah, a bit of both. You still want to win. Everyone’s going to say that we are going to lose, no doubt. But, the belief in the change room is there and the guys are really keen to do well. So they will be going out there and doing their best. And you never know; hopefully we can turn them over.
Q. How do you assess Australia’s chances in what has turned out to be a really open and tough group?
Dan Christian: It is a very open group. The way New Zealand played that first game, Australia are probably going to need New Zealand to just keep winning and go all the way through. And then Australia have to obviously beat England and continue to play well. That was a really good win last night against Sri Lanka. So I am sure they will be looking to keep going down that path.
Q. You have played with Virat Kohli and have known him over the years. How do you assess his comeback and do you give his example to the young guys out here?
Dan Christian: In our analysis and review today, we spoke about his innings the other night. How he took his time at the start and was then able to really cash in towards the end and finish that game off, so brilliantly, on the big stage. And that’s what these guys are aspiring to do; they are trying to play the same way. In a lot of our games, a lot of our guys have got off to good starts. They have been on 25 or 30 and just haven’t been able to get that 75 and win the game. So yeah, Virat’s innings was a great example for all of our guys to look up to.
Q. If Australia play the Netherlands, who would you support?
Dan Christian: I am always going to go for Australia; I am Australian. But we won’t have to play against them, so that’s okay. Unless we run into them in the semi-finals.