Cricket

IPL 2024: Virat Kohli Must Score Runs Ahead Of ICC T20 World Cup, Says Dale Steyn

Virat Kohli has not played for India since the T20I series against Afghanistan at home in January, skipping the ensuing five-match Test series against England owing to family reasons

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Virat Kohli has played just two T20Is since the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. Photo: File
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It is imperative for Virat Kohli to score big runs in the upcoming IPL to secure a berth in India’s T20 World Cup-bound squad because a few other players have leapfrogged the star batter in the last couple of months, reckoned former South African pacer Dale Steyn. (More Cricket News)

Kohli has not played for India since the T20I series against Afghanistan at home in January, skipping the ensuing five-match Test series against England owing to family reasons.

"I think, look, it's very important that he scores runs because it will put him in a good frame going to the World Cup.

"There're many guys who have leapfrogged him recently because he's taken a bit of a break and there're many contenders that are possible to take to that World Cup (squad)," Steyn said in an interaction during the ‘Star Sports Press Room.’

Kohli has, in fact, played just two T20Is since the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.

However, Steyn, who is taking a break this year from IPL coaching duties with Sunrisers Hyderabad because of family commitments, said Kohli’s experience might come handy for him when the selectors sit to pick the India squad.

"I look at runs the same way that you look at someone's bank balance, so to speak. Virat has got stacks and stacks of runs that he stored up over many years.

"It is going to work when India is looking to pick a team that goes to the World Cup. They're going to look for guys who have been there and done that and that's something Virat has done," said Steyn.

The 40-year-old Steyn also said it will be a challenging task for Hardik Pandya to step in as Mumbai Indians captain in place of Rohit Sharma, who had led the team to five IPL titles.

"I think it will be challenging ... the whole dynamics of leaving Mumbai and then coming back to Mumbai. I hope they have some sort of camp a month before the IPL. So, anything that's bothering anyone kind of gets ironed out before the first game."

However, Steyn said Mumbai should do well under Pandya, who had led Gujarat Titans to the IPL title in 2022.

"You've got big personalities, guys who have done the decision making before and now in a different role. It might be that little needle that we might not be able to see or hear on TV. But these international cricketers know how to put aside the ego, and I think Mumbai will be just fine," he added.

Australian pacer Pat Cummins will be another new captain in this year’s IPL as he has been assigned to lead Sunrisers, who had secured the services of the 30-year-old for a whopping Rs 20.5 crore in last year’s auction.

Australian batter Steve Smith, however, said Cummins will do fine as captain as the price tag will not add any pressure on him.

"I think he'll do a great job for Hyderabad while working with Daniel Vettori (SRH head coach). They've got a great rapport as they had worked together in Australia when Dan was the assistant coach.

"And yeah, he seems to play extremely well when he's got a leadership role as well. So, I'm looking forward to seeing how Hyderabad fares this year," said Smith.

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