Kohli shuts down strike rate critics with fiery IPL knock

Virat Kohli brushed aside criticism of his strike rate with a sublime half-century in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Sunday as the former Indian captain continued his good form ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in June.

The Royal Challengers Bengaluru batsman smashed an unbeaten 44-ball 70 against Gujarat Titans as the bottom-placed team comfortably chased down 201 runs for their third victory in 10 matches.

Despite accumulating 500 runs for the seventh time in an IPL season, Kohli’s strike rate of 147.49 has come in for scrutiny ahead of the T20 World Cup in the U.S. and West Indies.

Australia’s Travis Head has the highest strike rate among the top 10 batsmen in the IPL scoring charts with 211.25 after eight games, ahead of West Indian Sunil Narine on 184.02.

Kohli is eighth in the strike rate rankings in that list.

“All the people who talk about strike rates and me not playing spin well are the ones who love talking about this stuff,” Kohli said after Bengaluru’s nine-wicket win.

“But for me, it’s just about winning the game for the team. And there’s a reason why you do it for 15 years – because you’ve done this day in and day out; you’ve won games for your teams.

“I’m not quite sure if you’ve been in that situation yourself to sit and speak about the game from a box. I don’t really think it’s the same thing (as playing out there).”

Bengaluru lost seven of their first eight games and Kohli said they wanted to put their early season woes behind them.

“We wanted to step up for ourselves and play for a bit of self-respect,” he added.

“We can’t carry on in a big tournament like we did in the first half, so it’s just about going out there and playing the cricket we want to.

“With the ball as well, we’re attacking the game way more, and the bowlers are being courageous. The fielders are putting bodies on the line. That’s the way we want to play. Reuters

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