'Virat Kohli loves to keep proving but...': Sreesanth's sizzling take on India's 'X-factor' for South Africa series
Virat Kohli has been rested for the white-ball leg of the South Africa tour. Sreesanth was asked to name India's X-factor for the South Africa series.
Virat Kohli remained on a record-breaking spree for Rohit Sharma's Team India at the grandest stage of them all - the ICC World Cup 2023. Hosted by two-time winners India, the 2023 edition of the showpiece event saw the best of Kohli as a pure batter in an ICC event. The Indian run machine shattered a plethora of records in the 2023 World Cup although his batting exploits failed to put an end to India's long-standing trophy drought in ICC events.
Averaging 95.62 in 11 World Cup games, the former India skipper amassed 765 runs for the Men In Blue. Kohli, who gifted himself a record-levelling century on his 35th birthday at the World Cup against South Africa, was rested for the entire Australia T20I series after the ICC event. Appointing Suryakumar Yadav as India's T20I captain in the absence of injured Hardik Pandya, the Men In Blue recorded a comfortable series win over Australia.
Despite missing the services of regular skipper Rohit, batting maestro Kohli and pacer Jasprit Bumrah, India emerged 4-1 winners in the Australia T20Is. With India set to visit South Africa in its first away assignment after the ICC World Cup, former skipper Kohli had requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for a break from the white-ball leg of the tour. The 35-year-old will feature in India's star-studded squad for the Test series against South Africa.
'Virat loves to keep proving': Sreesanth
Runners-up in the previous edition of the ICC World Test Championship, India are placed third in the current standings. Hosts South Africa are yet to open its account in the WTC. Speaking to Firstpost in the lead-up to the South Africa tour, former India pacer Shanthakumaran Nair Sreesanth named two players when he was asked to pick the X-factor for the Test series. “Virat Kohli. Virat loves to keep proving, rather than to anybody but to himself. I think he’s that cricketer who actually plays with that pride and he takes that pride in a very good way, not in an egoistic way. So pride for me, and for Virat also I’m sure it’s like personal responsibility in delivering excellence. So, I will go with Virat and KL Rahul,” Sreesanth said.
When will Kohli return for India?
India announced its squad for the T20I, One Day International (ODI) and Test series against South Africa a day after head coach Rahul Dravid was retained as the manager of the men's team. Premier batter Rahul has made his return to the Test side alongside Shreyas Iyer and Bumrah. Former vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane was dropped from the Test squad for the South Africa tour. The Test series opener on December 26 between India and South Africa at the SuperSport Park will mark Kohli's first international match after the 2023 World Cup.
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