Sanjay Manjrekar doesn’t believe that Virat Kohli is “back in form” despite his match-winning 73 (54) against Gujarat Titans last week. The cricketer-turned-pundit wants to see another such knock from the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batter in the IPL 2022 Eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) on Wednesday.
After a string of low scores, including three golden ducks and underwhelming 30s and 40s, Virat Kohli finally seemed to have turned a page against the finalists Gujarat Titans. He was aggressive at the start, rode some much-needed luck, and then settled into a balanced rhythm that helped his team chase down 169 against the table-toppers.
Sanjay Manjrekar Doesn’t Believe Virat Kohli Is Back In Form After Just An Innings
Sanjay Manjrekar said he is hopeful of seeing long-term form from Virat Kohli but doesn’t want to judge him “after just one inning”. Virat Kohli has managed 2 fifties-both against Gujarat with a best of 73 in RCB’s last league match. Virat Kohli will be desperate to get his form back in the ongoing IPL and help RCB clinch their first-ever IPL title.
Sanjay Manjrekar said: “Virat Kohli has got that one inning but I don’t believe a player is back in form after just one inning. We’ll have to see one more innings in a pressure game then we’ll know whether or not Virat Kohli is back in form.
“The only thing is when Virat Kohli is scoring and then the big stage comes, he dominates completely. We’ll hope he picks up a long-term form to not only help his IPL side but also benefit the Indian team in a T20 World Cup season.”
Sanjay Manjrekar distinguished Virat Kohli’s lack of form in the first half of the season from Mumbai Indians (MI) captain Rohit Sharma’s sub-par displays. He explained that while Virat Kohli played good knocks consistently, they weren’t confidence-generating ones unlike the last one.
Manjrekar said: “Fans also read cricket really well. He was scoring 50s and 30s before as well, it’s not like he isn’t scoring runs at all like Rohit Sharma’s problem. But somewhere the fans knew that he wasn’t in form yet.
“But because of the way he batted and the strike rate he showed in the last match and not just runs but the way he scored those runs, the fans also assessed that Virat Kohli is back in form.
“The biggest thing is if Virat Kohli feels self-confident from the inside like before – he always looks confident from the outside – there’s no one better than him on the big stage.”
The Royal Challengers got the favor from Mumbai Indians, who beat Delhi Capitals (DC) in the penultimate league match of the season to allow RCB an entry into the qualifiers.
But that doesn’t take anything away from their all-around quality as they reached 16 points after 14 games despite their best batter not firing. Virat Kohli’s return to his prime form and adding to an already brilliant setup will be a big boost to the side’s hopes of winning its first IPL title.
Sanjay Manjrekar Reckons Harshal Patel’s Absence Will Have A Big Impact And Believes Mohammed Siraj May Be Back
However, one major area of concern for the franchise leading into their biggest game of the season could be Harshal Patel’s injury. Although the seamer has expressed confidence that his stitched hand will recover in time for the Eliminator, Sanjay Manjrekar feels the team should revert to Mohammed Siraj again. That will mean dropping Siddarth Kaul, who conceded 43 runs in four overs against the Gujarat Titans.
Sanjay Manjrekar explained: “It (Patel’s absence) will have a big impact because Josh Hazlewood and Harshal Patel have been their most reliable death-overs bowlers. Siddarth Kaul played in the last match but I believe Siraj will be back whether or not Harshal Patel is fit.
“For the conditions we’ll see on this pitch at the Eden Gardens, I feel they’ll bring back Siraj. Siddarth Kaul is more beneficial for slow and low pitches. So just for support, irrespective of Harshal’s place in the team, Siraj’s return is certain.”
The match will be played at the Eden Gardens, starting at 7:30 pm IST. The winner will proceed to play against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the second Qualifier.
Virat Kohli scored a fluent 73 off 54 balls against the Gujarat Titans (GT). He was also involved in an opening partnership of 115 with RCB skipper Faf du Plessis (44 off 38). Virat Kohli was retained ahead of the IPL 2022 mega auction for INR 15 crores.
He is the team’s 2nd highest run-getter this season with 309 runs averaging a mere 23.77 which doesn’t depict a good picture going by Virat Kohli’s caliber and credentials.