Sat. May 25th, 2024


NEW DELHI: Former South Africa AB de Villiers has strongly criticized cricket analysts who rely heavily on data for their assessment of players. He particularly targeted their criticism of Virat Kohli‘s strike rate outside the powerplay during the ongoing Indian Premier League.
Kohli has been in exceptional form this season for Royal Challengers Bengaluru, amassing 500 runs at a strike rate of 147 and an impressive average of 77, placing him second on the list of top scorers.Despite Kohli’s stellar performance, he has faced consistent scrutiny for his strike rate against spinners, particularly in the middle overs. However, de Villiers, who previously played alongside Kohli for RCB, disagrees with this assessment.
De Villiers hailed Kohli as one of the game’s finest players, emphasizing that it’s unwise for data-driven pundits to critique such a stalwart.
“Virat Kohli catching criticism about his strike rate it’s been going on for too long and I am sort of fed up with that now. I am frustrated to say the least. This guy is one of the best players to have ever played the game of cricket. He is incredible in the IPL, he plays a certain role for RCB,” the South African said on his YouTube channel.
“I have pretty much enough of data-driven pundits who keep criticising this man (Kohli) when you don’t have the knowledge of the game. How many games you played? How many IPL hundreds you scored?
“All the people who talk about strike rates and not playing spin well are the ones talking about this stuff. For me, it’s about winning the games for the team and there is a reason why you have done it for 15 years, you have done this day in and day out, you have won games for your teams.”
De Villiers feel Kohli has nothing to prove to anyone, and should just concentrate on his game.
“I am quite sure that if you haven’t been been in that situation yourself, to sit and talk about the game, it’s not quite the same thing. For me, people can talk about their assumptions day in and day out but those who have done day in and day out, they know what’s happening and it’s a kind of muscle memory for me now.
“His strike rate, by the way, this season is even better than the record-breaking season he had not so long ago (2016 season). So, I don’t know where the criticism is coming from. He is batting like a dream at the moment,” he said.
De Villiers’ support came after Kohli had lashed out at his critics following his 44-ball unbeaten 70 in RCB’s nine-wicket win over Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad in their previous game.
The former South African batter, however, feels Kohli is best suited at the No.3 position for RCB.
“Virat has successfully batted with a proven formula that has brought victories for the team. The rest of the squad — including the coach and captain — need to strategise around Virat’s successful approach. Personally, I still believe Virat is best suited for number three in the batting order.
“Though he loves opening and has an incredible record doing so, batting him at three would optimise this team’s lineup with Will Jacks and Faf (du Plessis) opening. Putting Virat at three would give the openers the best opportunity to get off to a fast start,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)


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