Gautam Gambhir stated that no one other than Virat Kohli could have survived in the team without a century in three years.
Virat Kohli, the Indian star batter, ended his century drought after an interval of 1020 days. He last raised his bat in the year 2019. Kohli smashed his 71st international hundred against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup in 2022. India were playing their last league match after getting eliminated from the tournament. Skipper Rohit Sharma missed out, citing workload issues. Kohli opened the innings with KL Rahul and scored an unbeaten 122 off 61 balls. India posted a giant total of 212 on board. Afghanistan crumbled under pressure and India won the match by a massive lead of 101 runs. With that, India’s Asia Cup journey came to an end, but Virat’s brilliant knock is the biggest positive for the side.
“Three years is a very long time,” says Gambhir
Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir had a strong opinion on Kohli’s 71st century. Speaking to Star Sports, Gambhir said that he has not seen any cricketer get this many chances without scoring a century in three long years. He also said that Virat probably earned his spot on the team because of his past records and reputation. He said,
“You have to realize that it is three years, not three months. Three years is a very long time. And I’m not trying to be critical of him, but he has earned that just because he has got loads of runs in the past. But I don’t think so that any of the younger batters would have survived in international cricket had they not got a hundred in last three years”
“No one apart from Kohli could have made it this far”
Gautam Gambhir further gave examples of people like Ashwin, Rahane, and KL Rahul to justify his statement, saying that they were dropped previously for their bad form. He added,
“But let’s be fair and absolutely honest, I don’t think anyone in the dressing room would have survived three years without a hundred. People like Ashwin, Rahane, Rohit Sharma, and KL Rahul have been dropped. I don’t know one guy who hasn’t been dropped after not having scored a hundred in three years. It is only Virat Kohli and probably he has earned that”
He further added that the century had come at the right time for Kohli. As India is approaching the T20 World Cup, his return to form is the biggest confidence booster for the team.
“Eventually it had to happen and it happened at the right time as well. You are just approaching the T20 World Cup and he’s got a hundred. So he has got the monkey off his back.
Kohli’s 122 is now the highest T20 score by an Indian batter. He also breached the milestone of 3500 T20 runs and became only the second Indian batter after Rohit Sharma to do so. India will face Australia and South Africa before heading on to the T20 World Cup in October.