Cricketer Robin Uthappa doesn’t think that Indian players would be focussed on winning the ICC T20 World Cup only because it will be Virat Kohli’s final tournament as the national captain in the shortest format.
Kohli will be stepping down as India’s T20I captain after the tournament but will continue as playing as a pure batsman in the team.
There has been a lot of talk surrounding Kohli’s decision to step down with fans urging the players to win the T20 WC for Kohli as a tribute to his captaincy. But Uthappa doesn’t think that will be case and even Kohli won’t be bothered whether he lifts the trophy as a captain or a player.
Notably, Kohli hasn’t won a single ICC title in his fifth year as full-time captain. India’s last world title was the 2013 Champions Trophy triumph which they won under MS Dhoni, who will be mentoring the team during the T20 WC.
“What has more value is as a player he still has a long way to go. Knowing Virat, I don’t think it matters to him whether he wins as a captain or as a player. He just wants to win a World Cup and I think that’s more important.
“That mindset we should shift in our heads, yes the desire is there. He’s been an exceptional captain and grown a lot as time has gone. He’s matured a lot into his captaincy and has been exceptional over the last couple of years, especially in Test cricket,” Uthappa said on India Today’s Salaam Cricket 2021.
Uthappa went on to add that even Kohli’s form as a batsman is not much of a concern as he “hasn’t been out or sorts” in any way “still been really good” in international cricket.
“The intent and the desire to go out there and do well for the country will always be there. Even as far as his batting is concerned, I think he’s aware that he hasn’t scored as consistently as he has set the standard for himself. The benchmark that he’s set for himself is so high that he’s not lived up to that same standard.
“But he’s not been bad, not been out of sorts at any point. He’s still been really good for international level cricket. Just think that he’ll go back to the basics and I don’t think he’s worried about the runs, he’s worried about what he can give to the team.
“My thinking is, if he plays the anchor’s role and everybody bats around him and if he bats till 20 overs, his scores will take care of itself and India’s total will be big anyway. And if it comes to the chase, he’s the master of it so he’ll do it.”
India are heading into the T20 World Cup as one of the favourites to win the title, which they had first clinched under MS Dhoni, who is mentoring Kohli’s side in this edition.
India warmed up for the tournament with two comprehensive wins over England and Australia in the warm-up matches in Dubai. India have been drawn alongside Pakistan, Afghanistan, New Zealand and two qualifiers in Group 2.
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