"Those questioning Virat Kohli's place in the T20 World Cup belong in gully cricket" - Former Pakistan pacer slams critics of Indian star

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Kohli has been India's best batter in T20 World Cups

Former Pakistan pacer Mohammad Irfan has blasted critics of Indian star Virat Kohli's place in the side for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

As per reports from The Telegraph, the Indian selectors are pondering dropping Kohli from the squad for the marquee event. It is despite the 35-year-old returning to the Indian T20I side after a 14-month hiatus for the Afghanistan series at the start of 2024.

Kohli is the all-time leading scorer in T20 World Cup history with 1,141 runs at an incredible average of over 81 in 27 games.

Speaking on News24, Irfan lashed out at Kohli's critics by questioning their knowledge about the game.

"He won the matches in recent times, it's not fair to raise questions on his place. Those questioning Virat Kohli's place in the T20 World Cup belong in gully cricket. I don't have any second thoughts about it, you can't make your team without Virat Kohli because he is a very big batsman," said Irfan.

Irfan also pointed to Kohli single-handedly winning games for India in last year's ODI World Cup to highlight his importance to the side.

"We all saw what he did in the ODI World Cup last year, Virat Kohli won 3-4 matches in the World Cup for India on his own. If Kohli didn't step up on that occasion, India would have lost 3-4 matches including group-stage matches against Australia and New Zealand where India lost early wickets. He finished the match on his own," added Irfan.

Kohli finished as the tournament's leading run-scorer with a single-edition record of 765 runs at an average of 95.62, including three centuries.

The champion batter also led the way in the previous T20 World Cup in 2022, scoring 296 runs at an average of almost 99.

"Strike rate is crucial in T20 format" - Mohammad Irfan

Mohammad Irfan further emphasized the importance of strike rates in the T20 formant, stating the effect it has on the batters coming in next.

In recent years, the role of sheet anchors has diminished in the shortest format, with power hitters being preferred even in the top and middle order.

"Strike rate is crucial in T20 format, if you play more balls then the pressure starts mounting on your team. If you score 30 off 10 balls then the next batsman will feel less pressure but if you score run-a-ball then things will be difficult for other batters," said Irfan.

While the West Indies and England have won the T20 World Cup twice, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Australia have each triumphed once in the prestigious event.

The 2024 T20 World Cup begins with the U.S.A. facing off against Canada in Dallas, Texas on June 1.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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