You have to be at your absolute best to face them: Virat Kohli praises Pakistan bowlers ahead of Asia Cup clash

Tags: Asia Cup 2023, Pakistan vs India, 3rd Match, Group A at Pallekele, Sep 02, 2023, India, Pakistan

Published on: Sep 01, 2023

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Former India captain Virat Kohli praised Pakistan’s bowling attack ahead of the Asia Cup 2023 clash between the arch-rivals in Pallekele on Saturday, September 2. Kohli opined that Pakistan have a very strong bowling line-up and stated that the batters will need to be switched on at all times to deal with the challenge.

India and Pakistan last met in the 2022 T20 World Cup at the MCG. Kohli was the hero on that occasion as the Men in Blue registered a four-wicket win in a thrilling last-ball first. Chasing 160, India were in all sorts of strife at 31/4. However, Kohli scored a spectacular 82 not off 53 balls to lift India to what seemed like an improbable victory.

The knock is rated by many as one of the finest the 34-year-old has ever played. On Saturday, Kohli will again be up against the likes of Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah and leg-spinner Shadab Khan.

Admitting that facing Pakistan’s strong bowling line-up will be a huge challenge, Kohli said on Star Sports, "I feel bowling is their strength. And they've got some really impactful bowlers that can change the course of the game anytime based on their skill set. So, you have to be at your absolute best to face them.”

Kohli last batted in the Test series in West Indies, where he scored an overseas Test hundred after nearly five years. He was part of the ODIs as well, but did not get a chance to bat. The 34-year-old was seen training hard during the six-day training camp Alur ahead of the Asia Cup.

On what keeps him going even after achieving so much in the game, the former India captain asserted that he has the hunger to play since he wants to keep improving. He explained, "I only try to understand how I can better my game. Every day, every practice session, every year, every season, this is what has helped me play this well for so long and to perform for my team.

''I don't think you can perform consistently without that mindset because if your performance is your only goal, then you can be satisfied and stop working hard. There is no limit to it. There is no set achievement that if you reach a certain stage, you've reached excellence. I think I strive for betterment every day, so that is a better word to use, and yes, performance obviously becomes a by-product because your mindset is 'How do I make my team win from this position?'', Kohli concluded.

Kohli has played 11 games for India in the Asia Cup in the one-day format. In these games, he has notched up 613 runs at an average of 61.30 with three hundreds.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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