Don't want to jinx it but there's a big one coming up: Rohit, Dravid back Kohli

Kohli, who was the highest run-getter at this year's IPL with 741 runs, is yet to make a significant contribution in the tournament, having scored only 75 runs in seven innings.
Star batter and former captain of the Indian national cricket team Virat Kohli
Star batter and former captain of the Indian national cricket team Virat Kohli(File photo | AP)

GEORGETOWN: India head coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma have thrown their weight behind the struggling Virat Kohli, saying the stylish batter has shown the intent and is due for a "big one" in the T20 World Cup finals against South Africa.

Kohli, who was the highest run-getter at this year's IPL with 741 runs, is yet to make a significant contribution in the tournament, having scored only 75 runs in seven innings.

"You know with Virat, the thing is, when you play a slightly high risk brand of cricket there can be times when it doesn't come off," Dravid said after India marched into the final with a 68-run win over England in the semifinals here.

"Even today, I thought he hit a really good six to set the tempo but he was just unlucky that the ball seamed a little bit more. But I love the intent, I love the way he went about doing it.

"And for some reason, I don't want to jinx it but I think there's a big one coming up. I'm just loving his attitude and that he's committing himself on the field - I think he deserves it."

Skipper Rohit also backed Kohli to come good in the final on Saturday.

"He's a quality player. Any player can go through that. But again, we do understand his class and we do understand his importance in all these big games.

"Form is never a problem because when you have played cricket for 15 years, form is never a problem. I thought he's looking good. The intent is there. It's probably saving for the finals".

Rohit, who has scored 248 runs so far with three fifties, has become the first to lead India in a third ICC global event final in a space of 12 months following the 2023 World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup that same year.

Heaping praising on Rohit, Dravid said: "Whatever I say will fall short.

The way he has worked with the team, his strategy, his maturity, the team's response to him, and the time he spends in strategy, planning, discussion with all of us.

"I cannot speak more highly about him as a cricketer and also as a person."

India have worked well as a team

Although his individual effort was a key factor, Rohit said it was very satisfying to win a game with a collective performance.

"I thought we adapted to the conditions really well. The conditions were a little challenging. We had to adapt and that's been the success story for us so far. You know, till this game, we have adapted to the conditions really well," he said.

Rohit said at one stage, he felt a 140-150 run target would be good enough but revised it in his mind.

"Then we said, OK, another 20-25 runs more. But again, you know I can set the target in my mind, but I don't want to let anyone know about it to the batters because they are all instinctive players.

"We got to 170, which I thought was a very good score on that pitch. And then the bowlers were fantastic."

The Mumbaikar also lauded his spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel, who shared six wickets between them.

"I thought they were very calm. They exactly knew what to bowl. And we had a little chat first after the first innings. We said, try and hit the stumps as much as possible, keep the stumps in play and that's exactly what they did," he said.

Asked about the final heartbreak that the team endured in the ODI showpiece seven months ago, Rohit said the focus right now is on staying calm.

"We've got to keep making good decisions throughout the 40 overs and that will help us making the game through.

And I thought in this game as well, we were very steady, we were very calm. We didn't panic too much.

"We'll try our best, that's all I can say. The team is in good shape, they're playing well. All I can hope is to put up another good show come the finals.

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