Virat Kohli. Photo-IPL
Virat Kohli. Photo-IPL

Virat Kohli is ruling the run-charts in the ongoing IPL 2024 amidst the ongoing strike rate debate about him. Still former India cricketers Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu have backed him on that front.

The T20 World Cup, which will be held immediately following the IPL, has fueled the controversy. Many fans and experts believed that his inclusion on Team India’s squad could be detrimental to their plan.

But the veteran batter has hushed his naysayers and is now leading the Orange Cap race. Despite this, his strike rate has sparked debate on social media and in broadcast cricket shows.

Kohli had scored a brilliant 92 in 47 balls against Punjab Kings to shut his distractors, packed with seven fours and six sixes, at a strike rate of 195.74, taking his side to 241/7 in 20 overs. It proved to be key as PBKS crumbled for 181 in 17 overs.

Ambati Rayudu shut down his critics with a brilliant take on the RCB star’s playing style.

“I think about the strike rate. It entirely depends on the surface and the given match. You cannot have a collective strike rate and really criticize anybody for that. On a given day, if you are batting under par, you say you need to score 200 and with your strike rate, you can only score 160, then you should be criticized.

But on a given day, you can only score 140, like how Ruturaj got 40 off 40, that’s a crucial knock. I think collective stats should not really be taken into consideration and Virat Kohli has been batting beautifully, especially against spinners this year, he has been playing those slog sweeps inside and I don’t think he should be criticized. He should not be criticized for any format, anywhere in the world,” Rayudu told Hindustan Times.

Kohli is on top of the Orange Cap race with 661 runs in 13 matches, consisting of a ton and five half-centuries, at a strike rate of 155.16.

‘Virat Kohli a champion player for India’: Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh, the 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup-winning India cricketer, supported Rayudu’s take on Virat Kohli.

“He is a champion player for India. I think he showed a lot of intent in the middle overs against the spinners as Rayudu mentioned. Never seen him playing those sweep shots. Now he is playing those sweep shots over midwicket. That goes on to show that he is trying. Even though he is Virat Kohli, he is still trying to be better than Virat Kohli, you know what we have seen. As long as people are their best, they shouldn’t be criticized,” he said.

Amongst the Indian batters in IPL 2024, Kohli has the second-best strike rate, only behind Sanju Samson’s 158.30. He boasts a better strike rate than the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad (141.50), Sai Sudharsan (141.28) and Riyan Parag (153.82).

Also Read: IPL 2024: Former Indian Legend Breaks His Silence On Virat Kohli-Sunil Gavaskar’s Strike Rate Argument