Allow Virat Kohli to play at his No.3 spot; let him feel comfortable there: Ponting

by IANS |

Melbourne, Nov 5 (IANS) Legendary Australian cricketer and IPL side Delhi Capitals' head coach Ricky Ponting doesn't want any uncertainty in charismatic India player Virat Kohli's batting position, saying, "let him feel comfortable" at the No.3 slot.

Kohli has scored most of his centuries and made his maximum contributions coming in at his favourite No.3 slot, though he scored his maiden T20I century -- 122 not out vs Afghanistan in the 2022 Asia Cup in the UAE -- opening the innings.

Kohli's form slump had made the India team management experiment with his batting order but he returned to his usual No.3 slot in the ICC T20 World Cup and has been in supreme form with 220 runs in four matches and emerging as the leading run-scorer in the tournament with an average of 220. He played an astonishing knock of 82 not out against Pakistan in India's four-wicket win at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23.

"In that number three slot, let him feel comfortable; let him work his way into the tournament," Ponting opined on ICC.

"I've also learned about the T20 game over the years that I've been involved, is it's more of an older man's game, or older person's game, than a young man's game.

"Just with the knowledge and the know-how and the expertise in situations like Virat has been confronted with a couple of times. They've (players like Kohli) done it before, and they tend to find a way to get it done more often than not. India now, I think, are reaping the rewards of keeping him there and if they go on to the next stage then I'm sure he'll produce something big in one of the finals as well," added Ponting.

The Australia legend also gave an insight into how Kohli might make the most of his recent form struggles, based on Ponting's experiences across 17 years playing at the top level. While Kohli has said taking a break from the game recently helped him refresh, Ponting believes the support of family and teammates would also have been pivotal in his return to form.

"(It's) a great learning experience for Virat as a cricket person, to actually get to a point in his career when he had to change, had to do something different," Ponting said. "We know he's always been a really hard worker, he's always been fit, always looked after his diet and been a great trainer. That worked for him up until a certain period of time where he had to look elsewhere and find other ways to get back to being a great player again.

"At the end of the day, we all play the game to try and do the right thing by our family, by our teammates and our fans. And that's probably the order that it goes in, to be honest. You want to make your family proud, you want to win games for your teammates and you want to have the people that turn up to watch, whether it's at the venue or through the TV screens, you want them to be proud of what you've done as well," added Ponting.

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