‘Virat Kohli’s record ton could have hurt Team India’- Gautam Gambhir

Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir, despite initially praising Virat Kohli’s phenomenal innings, has expressed concern that Kohli’s record-breaking century in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 against South Africa might have actually been a potential risk for Team India.

Kohli’s majestic knock of an unbeaten 101 runs off 121 balls helped India set a formidable total of 326/5 in their recent World Cup clash against South Africa at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 5. With this innings, the Indian skipper equaled the legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most ODI centuries (49) in cricket history.

Gambhir, while commending Kohli’s achievement, pointed out that Kohli’s slightly slowed pace towards the end of the innings might not have been necessary, considering India had already amassed a substantial total. He suggested that on a pitch favorable for batting, Kohli’s approach might have posed a risk for the team against a strong South African side.

In a statement to Sportskeeda, Gambhir remarked, “It was important for Kohli to bat deep and I feel it was just the last 5-6 overs where he slowed down a bit, maybe because he was nearing a century. But I believe there were already enough runs on the board. It could have hurt India if they were batting on a good pitch.”

Gambhir also hailed Shreyas Iyer for his pivotal innings of 77 runs off 87 balls against South Africa, highlighting that Iyer’s aggressive batting style relieved the pressure on Kohli, allowing him to play more freely in Kolkata. “You got to give credit to Shreyas Iyer for the way he kept taking chances and took the pressure off Virat Kohli,” Gambhir noted.

The former cricketer concluded by acknowledging the remarkable batting performances of both Kohli and Iyer, especially during the initial overs when the ball was new, effectively negotiating South African spinner Keshav Maharaj, who managed only one wicket despite Jadeja’s five-wicket haul.

India’s next challenge in the World Cup 2023 is against the Netherlands on November 12, where the team will aim to continue their winning momentum in the tournament.