Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli Image Credit: AFP

Kolkata: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s poor IPL run is in no way a reflection of skipper Virat Kohli’s talents, who will come good for India at the upcoming World Cup, insists New Zealand and Kolkata Knight Riders speedster Lockie Ferguson.

Kohli has scored 278 runs from eight matches at an average of 34.75 but Bangalore have suffered seven defeats in eight matches to be all but out of contention for a play-off berth.

“He’s an international superstar. I think playing for RCB is a lot different than playing for India,” Ferguson, who plays for Kolkata Knight Riders, told PTI in an interview here.

“It’s a completely different competition, different team, different formats. I wouldn’t look into too much how he’s been going in. Personally he’s been scoring runs,” he reasoned.

On Friday, Royal Challengers will take on Kolkata, who are also smarting from three successive losses.

“In T20, potentially Kohli hasn’t got the wins that he would have liked in at the start of the competition. But that’s not to say that he’s going to go badly at the World Cup,” said Ferguson, who had dismissed Kohli with a short ball in their first ODI in Napier earlier this year.

The Auckland-born pacer also rated Indian left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan highly.

“He came to New Zealand to play some T20s. Once again, a very good international cricketer. He’s doing very well here in the IPL (for Delhi Capitals).”

The World Cup begins on May 30 in the UK and Ferguson named India and hosts England as firm favourites to win the tournament before quickly adding West Indies as the dark horses.

“India and England are going to be serious contenders but I think West Indies are the ones to look out for and perhaps the Black Caps too,” he said.

“West Indies have been playing some exceptional cricket. The West Indians in the IPL have been doing really well too. But one day cricket is a lot different than T20.

“New Zealand have pretty impressive history at the World Cup,” he said about the last edition’s runners-up.

Ferguson was roped in by Knight Riders ahead of the 12th season to replace Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson as their pace spearhead.

The 27-year-old, who has played five matches for KKR, said he’s gaining a lot from his IPL experience.

Asked if in the net sessions, he bowls to big-hitting teammate Andre Russell, who has been in devastating form this season, Ferguson said: “I haven’t bowled to him yet. He’s often been bowling when I’m bowling at the nets. He hits the ball pretty well.

There has been a lot of talks about workload management with the World Cup taking place just after the IPL. Ferguson felt T20 is not too demanding physically.

“T20s is not probably the most toiling on the body compared to ODIs,” said Ferguson, who had a career-threatening foot injury during the 2012-13 domestic season.

“It’s the travelling part that actually takes quite a bit of a toll. For me personally playing games, getting experience and game time is only going to help me. By no reason it’s a toll. I think it will help going forward into the World Cup.”

Ferguson first played in the IPL for Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017. He had an impressive dot-ball percentage of 66.67 and an overall economy rate of 7.15.

But Ferguson said he’s not afraid of getting hit.

“As fast bowlers, it’s tough to bowl at the death particularly at small grounds and good wickets but at the same time getting them out at crucial times makes it even more exciting and enjoyable,” he said.