Matthew Hayden Supports Virat Kohli’s Potential As An Opener in Future Matches
By CricShots - Jun 20, 2024 5:50 pm
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As India gears up for the crucial Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup 2024, all eyes are on Virat Kohli. The batting maestro, usually a source of immense reliability, has surprisingly struggled in the initial group matches. Despite his underwhelming scores of 1, 4, and 0, former Australian opener Matthew Hayden believes the selectors made the right call by keeping Kohli at the top of the order.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli 

Matthew Hayden, who witnessed Kohli’s resurgence during IPL 2024 where he bagged the Orange Cap, is confident that the Indian legend will rediscover his form in the Caribbean leg of the tournament.

“We had many discussions during the IPL,” Matthew Hayden revealed on Star Sports. “I firmly believed that if Kohli was going to be part of the team, opening the batting was the way to go. His IPL performance as an opener was outstanding.”

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Matthew Hayden argues that pushing Kohli down the order wouldn’t maximize his potential. “Virat at number 3 wouldn’t get the best out of him,” he said. “These aren’t flat wickets where batsmen can blast quick centuries. You need players who can think on their feet and adapt to what the bowlers are throwing at them, especially considering the performances we’ve seen in this World Cup.”

The Australian legend is optimistic about Kohli’s performance on Caribbean pitches. He cites the example of Travis Head and David Warner, who played well against England in Barbados.

Matthew Hayden
Matthew Hayden

“Even on a sluggish Barbados wicket, Kohli managed a crucial 38. It wasn’t a flashy knock, but it was well-constructed and played a vital role in the match,” Matthew Hayden pointed out. “The benchmark shouldn’t just be hundreds or fifties. Strike rate is important too, but so is playing sensibly. We saw Head and Warner tear England apart on a good Barbados wicket – that’s the kind of challenge Kohli will face in the Caribbean.”

Matthew Hayden emphasizes the significance of a strong start, especially in the fast-paced T20 format.

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“In my opinion, he should definitely open,” he declared. “The pressure will be on him in the next week and a half, but I believe he’ll justify the selectors’ faith. He also needs to maintain a good strike rate. We’ve seen a clear trend in this World Cup – teams scoring heavily in the first six overs are miles ahead. It’s almost impossible to catch up if you fall behind early. Building a strong foundation in the first ten overs is crucial.”

India topped their group stage, defeating Pakistan, USA, and Ireland. Their match against Canada was washed out. Now, they face a new challenge in the Super Eight stage, where they’ll be up against strong contenders like Australia, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Can Kohli rise to the occasion and deliver the kind of explosive starts India needs to dominate the tournament? Only time will tell, but Hayden’s unwavering belief might just be the spark that ignites Kohli’s fire in the Caribbean.