As India begins their 2023 World Cup journey against Australia at the historic MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, all eyes naturally gravitate towards one of India’s star batsmen, Virat Kohli. At 35 years old, Kohli is one of the most respected and successful cricketers of his era.
Yet, the weight of expectation on his shoulders is immense, as he bears the responsibility of leading India to an elusive ICC title, a feat India hasn’t accomplished in ten years. Kohli’s importance in the Indian lineup is immeasurable. Widely acknowledged as the best batter across all formats in his generation, his ability to perform under pressure is unquestioned.
This quality is now scrutinized as India aims to secure the elusive World Cup trophy on November 19th. Kohli’s journey in World Cup competition has been a blend of brilliance and close calls. In a high-stakes T20 World Cup match against Pakistan last year, he demonstrated his resilience by scoring an unbeaten 82. However, despite this dazzling performance, India stumbled when it mattered most, losing to England in the semi-finals by 10 wickets.
Monty Panesar, the former England spinner, has stressed the significance of Kohli hitting top form at the perfect moment for India’s World Cup hopes. With the home team striving to claim the prestigious World Cup after a ten-year gap, Kohli will be in the spotlight, and according to the former England star, Kohli is expected to have a crucial role in the tournament.
“His presence is going to be absolutely huge for this Indian team. Virat Kohli will be setting the trend when it comes to batting — the intensity, running. He senses a moment on the field. He grabs the whole team and tells -– this is the winning moment, and let’s grab it,” Panesar told PTI.
India’s World Cup journey begins against Australia on October 8
Kohli is participating in his fourth World Cup, and Panesar expressed his wish that the star batsman would save his top performances for the crucial knockout stage.
“I like to see Kohli peaks at the right time. He peaked too early in last year’s T20 World Cup. I think he peaked too early during the group stages. He played an innings that was worthy of a final against Pakistan (in the group match). This time I hope he saves it for the final or for the semifinal,” said Panesar.
Team India will commence its World Cup journey in Chennai, facing off against Australia. They seek a strong start in a match against a familiar opponent. While they’ve faced each other in two ODI series this year, the World Cup presents a unique challenge. Rohit Sharma’s squad aims to leverage their home advantage in the opening match against the five-time champions.