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Kohli will bounce back in England, Kapil says

Legendary all-rounder all praise for Bumrah’s strength of character

Image Credit: AFP
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain and batsman Virat Kohli plays a shot during the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore at The Feroz Shah Kotla Cricket Stadium in Delhi on May 14, 2017.
Gulf News

Mumbai: Kapil Dev is not losing sleep over the recent lean patch of Virat Kohli and is confident that the Delhi stalwart will bounce back into form in the ICC Champions Trophy commencing on June 1.

“It [Kohli’s form] should not be [a worry]. I know his ability and talent. He will bounce back. I don’t see any reasons [why] he will not be among the runs,” Kapil said in an interaction arranged by Star Sports and digital platform Hotstar, the event’s broadcasters, here.

“He is an important player [for the team] and if he starts getting runs, then the whole team gets motivated. If your captain starts getting runs, it s the best thing that happens,” Kapil added.

Kohli, who hammered 973 runs last season in 16 Test matches, managed only 308 runs in 10 games in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League — with a high score at 64 — for the Royal Challengers Bangalore who were knocked out after finishing last in the league.

Defending champions India start their campaign in the tournament that is being held in England with the much-awaited group clash against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 4 in Birmingham.

Kapil, who led underdogs India to an unforgettable World Cup triumph in 1983, termed the present Indian bowling attack as the best and heaped special praise on young death-over specialist Jasprit Bumrah.

“When I saw Bumrah for the first time, I never expected [that he will rise]. He has such a strong mind! When your action is not so clean, it is difficult to manage to bowl such good bowling line and length, yorkers. He has the strength within himself. Whatever he wants to do, he can do,” Kapil said about the Ahmadabad-born bowler.

“His mindset is better than anything else and I have started respecting him much more than what I had seen on the first day when he played a ODI match,” said Kapil.

“If I see all these players, I don t think anybody else can fit in. Bhuvnesh [Kumar] is very good, Umesh [Yadav] is very good, [Mohammad] Shami is extraordinary. [Ravichandran] Ashwin will be back and [Ravindra] Jadeja. These are the best bowlers we have in the country,” said the 58-year-old former India skipper, who claimed 253 wickets in 225 ODIs.

Kapil emphasised that the Indian team vying for the Champions Trophy looks strong on paper.

“On paper it [the team] looks very good. Perhaps I know the team much better than other teams, so I can say, [the] Indian team looks very good at this stage,” the cricket legend said.

Asked whether yesterday’s half-century scored for the Rising Pune Supergiant against Mumbai Indians in IPL Qualifier 1 here signalled Ajinkya Rahane’s return to form, Kapil said he was hoping the innings would boost the batsman’s confidence in the Champions Trophy.

“Ajinkya Rahane has shown time and again that he has the ability and temperament [to score runs]. Just sometimes one knock can change the thought process, and I hope he will be much confident now [after the fifty] than the day before.”