Whether it is Tiger Woods or Roger FedererTom Brady or Serena Williamssports legends often squint at their doomsayers, constantly pushing the boundaries of excellence beyond the shelf-life that might normally apply to lesser mortals.
In the head up to World Cupthe general opinion was as cricketthe flagship event could be a swan song for some Indian devotees. However, if early signs are any indication, fans and critics alike may be left with “yeh dil mange more‘ feeling when the carnival is over.
Will Virat Kohli be firing on all cylinders at the 2023 World Cup?
It wasn’t long ago Virat Kohli should have dissected his technique and questioned his motivation. However, India’s fittest and perhaps most ambitious batsman responded in the best possible way by scoring an innings of 85 in the team’s opening match against Australia.
He followed it up with another half-century against Afghanistan and although he failed to convert a good start against Pakistan, the former India captain showed that he is back in his vintage best.
“For them, it’s a different kind of motivation. These people have the ability to chase after extraordinary things that others haven’t achieved, not just because they want to achieve what others haven’t achieved,” he noted. Surendra Bhavethe former national coach, who was part of the jury during the 2011 World Cup, on what separates the legends from the rest.
“When you take Roger Federer, every match has brought a different touch. The challenge for these guys is to take their game to a sublime level. The more they do it, the better they get at it. So the motivation for players like Sachin or Rohit or Virat would be to improve their batting. And they like to do it for the country.”
Virat Kohli, Babar Azam and Virat’s autographed India jersey | IND vs PAK
Some of Kohli’s trademark offside shots are played outside his body. They have proved to be his undoing in the recent past, but have paid him big dividends at the World Cup.
Bhave said that we should focus on the batsman’s mental skills rather than technique. “We have to remember that this is white-ball cricket. There are pitch conditions as well. Indian batsmen have shown that they can hit the ball quite hard even if it is sliding away or in,” he said.
“They have the strength and the talent to place the ball, but instead of getting into the technique, we have to talk about the mindset.
“Virat is in great form. That’s the kind of form you want in the World Cup as your fighter. He’s achieved so much at that level and at that pace.”
“He knows very well more than anyone how to control that aggression. To the layman it might look like he’s playing one stroke too much. I’m pretty sure the century is around the corner.”
Bhave was part of the stadium committee Maharashtra Cricket Association when it planned and built the Gahunje facility here in Pune to host India’s next match against Bangladesh on Thursday.
He is responsible for pitch preparation on many occasions, knows the behavior of the track, but has refrained from making predictions.
“I believe the stage is set for a wonderful match, another dominating match for India. No team in the all-play-all format can take any opponent lightly and I think the team will come out with full concentration,” he said.
“I haven’t actually been on the pitch. Gahunje is known for its grass cover. There is a cross wind through the stadium so it creates movement outside the seams. I’m sure the pitch will be worthy of a World Cup match.”
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