Former India cricketer Hemang Badani said Virat Kohli was capable of stepping up for India in crucial moments despite not being in the best of form.
Speaking to Sportstar during a live chat show on Friday, Badani said Kohli was too good a player to worry about form, going into the Champions Trophy. “He has changed a lot since the last time he went there [England] and the person I see today is a lot different. My only worry with Kohli is that is he a little fatigued right now. Is he playing too much? That's the only concern. As for his technique, I am not concerned. He is too good a player to actually have a problem going into the Champions Trophy,” he said.
On India's chances at the Champions Trophy, the former batsman was guarded in his outlook. “It is a good side, but there is a little bit of worry – a lot of these guys are ageing and a lot of them aren't in their peak form,” Badani said, while maintaining that India was still the favourite to win the tournament.
“Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh), I don't really know. If you go back to the last ODI series, he has got a hundred against England. So, you can't really drop him and he is someone who has done well. But, does he still have it? Then Rahane is not batting at his best, Rohit Sharma is coming after six-month layoff, didn't have a great IPL, but again he is a good player. Dhoni doesn't look the same, but his glove-work is still the best, still impeccable. However, batting isn't the same.”
The former cricketer was of the view that England would be the team to beat. “Their ODI history hasn't been the greatest but if you see the last two years that they have played after the World Cup, they have played some amazing cricket. They have got guys who go hard after the ball. Earlier, guys left the ball, they took it easy. Those things have changed. And with them playing at home, to me, they are the side to beat.”
Badani held all-rounder Ben Stokes as a marquee player in the tournament. “He is a major player for them. He is a match winner and one of the reasons why RPS (Rising Pune Supergiant) did well in IPL is because of him. To start with, he was a bit slow, but he was getting used to Indian soil and conditions and how the IPL works but then he picked up. In Champions Trophy, he will probably be one of the most important players in the tournament. He bats and bowls well, and is an amazing fielder.”
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