Manjrekar reignites strike rate debate in another indirect attack on Kohli: ‘India need the older version of Virat now’

Virat Kohli hasn’t had the kind of start to the 2024 T20 World Cup, which was expected after the blockbuster IPL season he had. He smashed 741 runs in the league last season to win the Orange Cap. But on arrival in the USA for his sixth appearance in a World Cup edition, Kohli managed scores of 1 and four in two innings against Ireland and Pakistan, respectively, so far. Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar reckoned that, given the conditions in New York, India currently aren’t in need of the aggressive version of Kohli and rather need the older version.

Sanjay Manjrekar reignited strike rate debate on Virat Kohli

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo ahead of India’s match against Group A toppers, the USA, in New York, their third match in the ongoing T20 World Cup, Manjrekar took a cheeky dig at Kohli as he reignited the strike rate debate, saying that the former India captain managed to shut the criticism on his approach in the format by improving his scoring rate to almost 150 in a league where most batters were scoring at almost 200.

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Manjrekar then added that although Kohli might be in that same aggressive mindset as he was in the IPL last month, India are in need to the older version of the legend in a bid to tackle the difficult pitch conditions in New York.

“The problem with Virat Kohli is that there has been a lot of talk about his strike rate over the last two years, and he completely changed that during this IPL season. His strike rate had reached 150, although others had almost 200, but that is a different topic. He probably must have come to the T20 World Cup with that same mindset, but given the pitches, the old Virat Kohli would have been much better. So, I feel someone should tell him to bring back that earlier version of himself and then change again when the pitches become flat,” he said.

Manjrekar’s comment came only a day after he took an indirect dig at the 35-year-old in praising Jasprit Bumrah for his heroics in the match against Pakistan. The fast bowler’s 3 for 14, comprising 11 dot balls, played the most pivotal role in India’s six-run win in New York on Sunday.

“While Indian media obsesses over Virat & Co, Jasprit Bumrah quietly wins games for India single-handedly. By far the best player in the Indian team & has been for a while now. #JaspritBumrah #ICCT20WC,” Manjrekar had written on X.

India stand a win away from confirming their spot in the Super Eight stage of the World Cup, after having beaten Ireland and Pakistan. And so do the USA, who beat Pakistan and Canada to stand at the top of the Group A points table.

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