IPL 2024: Matthew Hayden backs Virat Kohli over strike rate debate

The 35-year-old is tournament's leading wicket-taker currently

By Web Desk
April 29, 2024
Matthew Hayder (L) and Virat Kohli. (R). - Reuters/BCCI

Legendary Australian opener Matthew Hayden backed India's batting legend Virat Kohli amid recent criticism of his strike rate in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).

Kohli, currently leading the race for the Orange Cap with an impressive tally of 500 runs in ten matches, has not escaped scrutiny over his performance, particularly regarding his pace during the middle overs.

However, Kohli's critics were given a strong response as the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) stalwart once again demonstrated his skill with a scorching 70-run innings against the Gujarat Titans.

Confronting the formidable pair of Afghanistan's spinners, Noor Ahmad and Rashid Khan, Kohli's aggressive approach saw him strike six fours and three sixes during his unbeaten innings, boasting a strike rate of 159.09 off 44 balls.

Hayden stressed the need for such adjustments to ensure longevity in one's career.

"You have 4 games in the US (T20 World Cup). So, there’s that element of unknown. You need his experience. Sweep shot. Longevity in your career means you have to keep making the adjustments. And I think Virat Kohli did need to make adjustments for RCB Outside the first six, there were some issues around strike rate. Hayden said on Star Sports after the match.

"Certainly, his strike rate was dropping. But, against the Afghan spin twins today, those sweep shots that were typical of a great champion, to keep learning. That was an option to get off strike, to hit boundaries and to keep momentum in your favour and then, you can say ‘I am doing my job today, you need to do yours’," he added.

Furthermore, Hayden brushed aside the unfair emphasis on Kohli's strike rate this season, confirming the his brilliance with a strike rate surpassing 150.

"There has been way too much focus on Virat Kohli and his lack of strike rate, in my mind because he has been brilliant. This season, he is striking at 150-plus," Hayden said.