“This is his World Cup if he continues his good form”

Former Sri Lankan all-rounder Farveez Maharoof has predicted that Virat Kohli will dominate the 2023 ODI World Cup in India if he continues his great form with the willow.

34-year-old Kohli was the Player of the Match for his 166* off 110 balls in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, January 15. He was also named Player of the Series for being the leading run-getter. In three matches, the former India captain hammered 283 runs at an average of 141.50 and a strike rate of 137.38.

Kohli’s ton on Sunday was his second of the series and third in his last four one-day innings. He has 46 ODI hundreds to his credit now, just three short of Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 centuries. Describing Kohli as the GOAT of cricket, Maharoof backed him to have a stupendous World Cup at home. He told ESPNcricinfo:

“If (Lionel) Messi is the GOAT of football, it’s Kohli in cricket. The script is written nicely for 2023 – World Cup at home. He won it in 2011. This is his World Cup as well if he continues his good form. The way he paces his innings and understands situations, I don’t think anyone in the world does any better than that.”

The former Indian captain struck 13 fours and eight sixes in his knock on Sunday. He added 131 runs for the second wicket with Shubman Gill, who scored 116 off 97 deliveries.

“It’s a World Cup year and Virat Kohli in this kind of form is big news” – Wasim Jaffer

Echoing Maharoof’s sentiments, former India Test opener Wasim Jaffer also admitted that Kohli’s superb form is great news for the Men in Blue, with the World Cup to be played in the second half of 2023. He commented:

“It’s a World Cup year and Virat Kohli in this kind of form is big news. Australia are also coming for such an important series (the Border-Gavaskar Trophy).”

Praising the Delhi batter’s dedication and work ethic, Jaffer asserted that it was bound to pay off, even though critics raised some hard questions during his lean phase. The 44-year-old concluded:

“Kohli’s form is no surprise. He had a three-year lean patch. But he’s one of those guys who puts in effort behind the scenes with his work ethic. He works intensely hard, whether it’s in the gym or in training. For those guys who put in so much effort, the results are bound to come. When it comes, it comes like this.”

Before his ton on Sunday, Kohli had scored 113 off 87 balls in the opening ODI in Guwahati. He had also notched up a hundred during the third one-dayer against Bangladesh in Chattogram in December 2022.

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Edited by Renin Wilben Albert

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