Ahead of the high-octane India-Pakistan clash in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup, some notable Pakistan players lavished praise on Virat Kohli, appreciating his hunger for runs, self-improvement, finishing skills and focus as a batter.
India and Pakistan will lock horns at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday. The Men in Blue will be keen to extend their seven-match winning streak against Pakistan while the latter will be looking to end their World Cup duck against Team India.
India has dominated the head-to-head record in ODI World Cup matches with 'Men in Blue' winning all seven games against the arch-rival, boasting a 100% win record till now.
In a video by Star Sports, Pakistan top-order batter Imam-Ul-Haq said, "I like his never-give-up attitude. Also, I like the way he sledges Australia in their own territory and messes with them. Though he has cooled down as of late as we have seen recently, his belief and attitude are so different than others. He believes that he can achieve and do well in any situation. There could be a lot of players like him ability-wise, but his ability and mindset is different, his hunger does not end, and that is why he is elite."
Pacer Haris Rauf said, "When I was a net bowler bowling to Virat (during Rauf's time in Big Bash League in Australia), I felt that he knew where my ball was going to land. That is how focused he was. He was playing me in nets like an actual match with so much aggression. When I saw his control, I could understand why he has such a big status in international cricket, it is something different."
Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammed Rizwan is also a fan of Virat's finishing abilities. "When he is well set and has few runs under his belt, his finishing touches and shots are unlike every other player in the world. Nobody comes close to him," said Rizwan. All-rounder Shadab Khan said that it is Virat's hunger for runs and self-improvement that he likes.
"He has that hunger to score and improve himself all the time. He is a world-class player, a legend already, but still he wants to do well for India. I like this committment," said Shadab.
In 283 ODIs, Virat has scored 13,223 runs at an average of 57.74, with 47 centuries and 68 fifties in 271 innings. His best score is 183. He is the fifth-highest run-scorer in ODI history and second-highest run-scorer for India in the format.
This year, Virat has played 18 ODIs, scoring 752 runs at an average of 62.66. He has scored three centuries and four half-centuries, with the best score of 166*.
In 15 ODIs against Pakistan, Virat has scored 662 runs at an average of 55.16 and a strike rate of over 100, with three tons and two fifties to his name. His best score is 183. In 25 international matches against Pakistan, he has scored 1,150 runs at an average of 63.88, with three centuries and seven fifties. His best score is 183.
This match comes after India's two matches against the arch-rivals during a winning Asia Cup campaign. One match, held in the group stage was abandoned due to rain while India registered a thumping win in the next clash during the Super Four stage.
India began their World Cup campaign with a victory over Australia, while Pakistan has two victories in two matches to build momentum ahead of the major encounter.
Fans will be hoping that megastars of Men in Blue, such as Virat Kohli, skipper Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul and Mohammed Siraj keep up their consistent performance to continue the country's winning streak with Pakistan in 50-over World Cups and come out with 8-0 win against the arch-rivals in the World Cup.
India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim. (ANI)