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India vs New Zealand: Virat Kohli a great player, will bounce back from lean patch, says Kapil Dev

New Delhi, Feb 27: Former India captain Kapil Dev believes Virat Kohli's lean patch with the bat isn't something to be worried about as the current India captain will come back strongly.

Kohli has been out of form on the New Zealand tour as he failed to leave a mark in the T20Is, ODIs and also in the first Test against the Kiwis in Wellington where he had scores of 2 and 19. Kohli hasn't slammed a ton in 21 innings and that has raised the tension of the fans.

It was due to his lack of runs in Wellington that cost him his top spot in the ICC Test Rankings. He slipped to number two in the latest rankings as Australia batting mainstay Steve Smith dethroned him after a long time.

Talking to media persons on the sidelines of an event in Noida on Thursday (February 27), the 61-year-old assured Kohli will bounce back for the Delhi-cricketer is one of the all-time greats.

"He should be worried about it. Why should we be worried? He's a great player and I think great players come back strongly after getting pushed to the walls. If he's counted amongst the all-time greats then he'll certainly regain his form bounce back, and I don't an iota of doubt about that. He has lots and lots of cricket left in him."

When asked if talented Karnakata batsman KL Rahul - who is in such a sublime form at the moment across formats - doesn't get picked up in the Test squad while Cheteshwar Pujara - who has been inconsistent with the bat in the last one year - is continuously getting a chance, the former India coach said such decisions rest with the team management.

"It's the call of team management. They can pick whomsoever they deem fit for the role. Yes, during our times, it was the norm to play the man-in-form but this is a new breed of cricketers and good luck to them," the World Cup-winning captain stated.

When asked about Team India's game plan to counter New Zealand's strategy of short bowling in the second Test as the hosts are likely to include their most lethal Test pacer, Neil Wagner, into the side Kapil opined the visitors shouldn't be intimidated by that and focus on their skills.

"Honestly, I don't know. But my question to you guys is, haven't we won on bouncy tracks like Melbourne, Perth, and Durban in the past? We have done pretty well on such grounds in the past and I am not at all concerned about that. The team should look to bounce back and come hard against the Kiwis, that's all I can say."

When further probed if the Indian players seemed underprepared for the Wellington Test the legendary all-rounder agreed and said the scorecard, as well as the result of the game, was testimony to the same.

The legendary pacer also said that if Virat Kohli-led side fails to get the desired result in the second Test despite putting up a much better show then the Kiwi side should be given all the credit of playing a better brand of cricket than their Indian counterparts.

"They should look to rectify the mistakes they did in the first Test and look to win the second and if they fail despite doing well, then credit must be given to the New Zealand team," he claimed.

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Story first published: Thursday, February 27, 2020, 23:44 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 27, 2020