MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian legend Ricky Ponting said on Wednesday Virat Kohli had done the right thing by taking a month-long hiatus from cricket.
After his 35 against Pakistan in the Asian Cup opener in India, former India skipper Kohli hit a smooth 44-ball 59 against Hong Kong in Dubai on Wednesday, his first international half-century since a 52 against West Indies in a T20I in Kolkata on February 18 this year.
“I just hope we see him again in his best light and in the World Cup,” Ponting, a two-time World Cup winner, told ‘ICC Review’.
“I would rather see Virat come here (to Australia) and be one of the best players in the tournament, but just make sure he doesn’t score a lot of points against Australia when they play!”
Ponting’s comments came after India’s five-wicket win over Pakistan on Sunday.
Returning after a month-long break from cricket, Kohli scored a 34-ball 35 against the rivals.
“First and foremost, it’s great to see him back on the descents,” Ponting said.
“Not surprised he did it in a chase. We’ve always known about him. His record suggests he’s better when his team is chasing runs.
“When I saw his runs and read on social media the last few days, it looked like he was in a pretty dark place. Like a lot of us men, he wasn’t unwilling to talk about it and Share it.
“It seems like when he started sharing, started talking, maybe it freed him up a bit and he started to feel better about himself again,” the Aussie said, referring to the recent Kohli’s statement that he was “faking intensity”. amid his struggles with the Bat.
Asked if he had faced anything similar, Ponting said: “I don’t think I can quite relate to ‘intensity’ (comment)…
“When things aren’t going well and you don’t score the points you used to score, the game suddenly seems too difficult.
“I kind of dealt with it in the last two years of my career, where my career fizzled out pretty quickly… It was almost, the harder I worked, the worse I got.
“I was so focused and aware of being perfect and doing things exactly right, thinking I had to do it to get the best out of myself, but all I was doing was putting pressure on myself. and not letting me play the game like I used to. I think it could be a bit like that too with Virat.
“It’s just human nature when things don’t go your way, you push harder, you try harder, and the harder you try, the harder it gets.”
Ponting thinks it was important for Kohli to take an extended break to reset.
“One thing I will say, as international cricketers, and probably more with modern Indian players, the amount of cricket they actually play internationally and the IPL, you can quite often bluff yourself than you you feel good and that you are fresh, that you have a lot of energy.
“Because when you’re tired you have to tell yourself, because you have to get up and play again the next day. It’s only when you’ve stopped and you just have a few days off, or you have a week, that you realize how tired you are physically and mentally.
“For someone like Virat, it was not good to have a week off. The fact that he took this month off to escape, to sort of collect his thoughts, to get back to where we think he’s in the right space mentally.. there’s a lot of good signs out there,” Ponting concluded.



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