Ever since the cricketing world discovered that India captain Virat Kohli had claimed the wicket of New Zealand’s Kane Williamson in the semi-final of the Under-19 World Cup in 2008, the former’s bowling prowess has come under special scrutiny. In that game played at Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur, India U-19 captain Kohli had gone on to pick two wickets for 27 runs and scored vital 43 runs later to take India to the final and eventually win the trophy. Williamson was his opposite number in that match and had made a slow 37, off 70 balls.
The two cricketers, now men and captaining their respective countries’ senior teams at the ICC World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, are set to lock horns again on a big semi-final at Old Trafford on Tuesday. While India have been through in their approach throughout the tournament so far and won seven games and lost one in the league stage to end up as No.1, New Zealand were less convincing towards the end of their campaign but yet beat Pakistan in the race to the semi-finals owing to a better net run-rate.
‘I got Kane’s wicket? Did I?’
On Monday, Kohli met the press ahead of the match and was astonished to hear that he indeed had picked the wicket of Williamson ever. “I got Kane’s wicket? Did I? I don’t know if that can happen again now,” the ace Indian batter said with a surprising gesture, leaving the media in splits. The Indian captain, who own some big batting records in international cricket, has picked only four wickets in ODIs, the last of which had come in January 2014.
That scalp though was not Williamson but the then Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum. The last time Kohli had bowled in an ODI game was against Sri Lanka in August 2017. He also has four wickets in the T20Is but none in Tests. Kohli was seen bowling at the nets ahead of the World Cup which gave an impression that he was indeed planning to roll his arms during the tournament.
However, given the Indian bowlers’ clinical performance in this World Cup so far, there is little possibility of Kohli getting with the act. “We have played with five (bowlers). We are up to reviewing that. Otherwise, you just told I got Kane out. So, I can bowl. I can bowl at any time you know. I am quite lethal as long as I don’t slip on the pitch.” Kohli said.
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