India's Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring a century
India's Virat Kohli. Image Credit: AFP

Mumbai: A half-century in his last One-Day International (ODI), the third and final match of the series against Australia in Chennai, has given Ravichandran Ashwin the confidence to back Virat Kohli to come good in the 50-over World Cup to be held in October-November this year.

Former India captain Kohli, who has gone through a long period of poor form, has regained his batting touch and has scored a majestic hundred in the Ahmedabad Test against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series and followed it up with a half-century in a losing cause in the third and final ODI in Chennai as India lost the series 1-2.

Looking good

In a post on his YouTube channel, Ashwin said Kohli is looking very good and will definitely turn it on during the World Cup.

“Usually, when Virat Kohli scores a fifty, he will convert it into an unbeatable hundred and prove why he is the king. But that did not happen. But fingers crossed, he is looking very good by the day. He is definitely going to turn it on during the World Cup, I have all the beliefs. Let’s back him,” said Ashwin.

Kohli has gone more than two years without a century but has made a good comeback in all three formats, doing well in the Asia Cup and Bangladesh in the shorter format before hitting a brilliant 186 in the drawn Ahmedabad Test.

Ashwin noted Australia captain Steve Smith’s tactics during bowling during the ODI series to get his spinners to bowl outside to tempt the Indian batters to reach for the delivery and perish in trying to hit the wide ones.

First slip

“I noticed Steve Smith was constantly telling Ashton Agar from the first slip, ‘Keep bowling it outside’. Because when they see the line, they will try to go over extra cover and if the ball holds its line and goes straight, it will go straight to long-off. He also made David Warner come in a bit from long-off and set up the entire dismissal,” Ashwin said in the post.

He added that Smith’s tactic worked as both Kohli and Hardik Pandya got dismissed trying to hit over extra cover but were caught at long-off.

“When Adam Zampa and Ashton were bowling, the pitch was holding a bit. Both Virat and Hardik tried to hit over extra cover and the ball fell just short of the long-off fielder,” said Ashwin.