Former England spinner Graeme Swann believes it will be crucial for senior Indian batter Virat Kohli to do well at the upcoming T20 World Cup 2022. The tournament is set to kick off in Australia next month with India taking on Pakistan in their first match on October 23.
Speaking to Sports 18, Swann suggested that Kohli's failure at the showpiece event could result in the television ratings going down. He also spoke about how he used to relish watching the 33-year-old bat when he competed against India during his playing days.
"India need Virat Kohli to fire. I’ve worked for the TV side and I know there is a desperate need for Virat Kohli to do well as it was with MS Dhoni. If those guys don’t do well TV ratings go down and people get disillusioned."
"I want Virat Kohli to do well, when I used to play against India, I never minded Virat Kohli’s batting. I liked watching him bat up close, trust me if you think you think he looks good while batting from the stands and on TV, you should stand at a backward point or cover, it’s gorgeous to watch him bat."
The cricketer-turned-commentator revealed that he was surprised by Kohli's century drought.
Swann went on to slam fans who downplayed Kohli's knock, saying that the player slammed his much-awaited 71st ton against a team like Afghanistan. He, highlighted how Afghanistan have a potent bowling lineup and how they trumped Asia Cup 2022 champions Sri Lanka in their opening fixture.
"I hope Virat just come good and it was incredible that he didn’t score a hundred for 2-3 years in international cricket because that player is amazing."
"People will say he scored his 71st ton against Afghanistan, that’s really bad on Afghanistan because they are a good team. They got one of the best bowling attacks, they beat Sri Lanka who went on to win the Asia Cup trophy."
Kohli dazzled viewers at the Asia Cup with his batting exploits. He mustered 276 runs from five outings at a remarkable average of 92.00, finishing as the leading run-scorer for India in the tournament.
He was impressive during India's ensuing home T20I series against Australia as well, hitting a gutsy half-century in the all-important series decider. He helped Men in Blue win the series 2-1.
"Will get a hundred in the T20 World Cup" - Graeme Swann backs Rohit Sharma to do well
Swann opined that captain Rohit Sharma's form shouldn't be a concern for the Indian team ahead of the T20 World Cup. However, he believes that the batter will turn things around at the tournament by contributing significantly with the bat.
The 43-year-old also reckoned that the added pressure of captaincy wasn't the reason behind Sharma's inconsistent performances. Swann emphasized that the senior batter is the ideal candidate to lead India.
"It’s just form, when you play cricket, this gets thrown around a lot the captaincy pressure and everything. People used to say about Virat at RCB. As a batsman, you are not thinking about captaincy when you go out and bat, you go out with a clear mind and focus on the ball."
"Rohit is definitely the player who will get a hundred in the T20 World Cup, I have absolutely no doubt about it. I have no worries about Rohit Sharma he is the right man to lead and he has not been at his best form but India are consistently posting big scores."
Sharma has scored 74 runs in his last T20I matches.