No concerns about Kohli's strike rate, says Agarkar

The chief selector said Kohli's experience was valuable to India's T20 squad and that there was enough muscle in the middle order

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
"Are you concerned about Virat Kohli's strike rate?"
India's chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar was asked that question at a press conference to discuss the squad for the T20 World Cup in Mumbai on Thursday. Though he didn't specify, it's possible the questioner may have meant Kohli's strike rate against spin.
"I don't think we've been discussing it," Agarkar said. "Look, he has been in great form fortunately in the IPL, so there are no concerns there at all with regards to how it's going [for Kohli] in the IPL."
Kohli is currently the second highest run-scorer this season, with 500 runs in 10 innings at a strike rate of 147.49. But, among 16 players who have scored at least 100 runs against spin in IPL 2024, Kohli 's strike rate of 135.66 is the fifth lowest.
Agarkar, however, said that Kohli's experience was valuable and that they had made selections to give the middle order more power. "I mean we've obviously got some reinforcements. That's the whole thing, but you want some experience in your team," he said. "I mean these guys [Rohit, Kohli] have been around because they've been good enough to be around. That's the reason they played. They have played multiple World Cups.
"But look, like Rohit spoke before, we have tried to get in players who are going to bat a certain way in the middle of the innings where just presuming that a lot of teams will use spin sometimes. That has been an issue. We have tried to address that with some of the guys that we picked. We have tried to get in some left handers as well through the middle of that innings. Surya has been the number one T20 player in the world for a while. I don't think he's too bad through the middle either."
Last week in the IPL, Kohli played one of his best T20 innings against spin, scoring 70 not out off 44 balls against Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad. He scored 61 runs at a strike rate of 179 against Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad and Sai Kishore, the most he has ever scored against spin in a T20 game.
"All the people who talk about strike rates and me not playing spin well are the ones who love talking about this stuff," Kohli said after that innings. "But for me, it's just about winning the game for the team. And there's a reason why you do it for 15 years - because you've done this day in [and] day out; you've won games for your teams.
"I am not quite sure if you've been in that situation yourself to sit and speak about the game from a box. I don't really think it's the same thing [as playing out there]. So for me, it's just about doing my job. People can talk about their own ideas and assumptions of the game, but those who have done it day in [and] day out know what's happening, and it's kind of a muscle memory for me now."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo