Kohli brushes off strike-rate debate, hits back at those speaking 'from a box'

RCB batter was speaking after scoring match-winning 70* in Ahmedabad, where he dominated Gujarat Titans' spin attack

Virat Kohli has brushed off any criticism of his strike rate against spin in the IPL, after scoring a match-winning 70 not out off 44 balls against Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad. Kohli's innings, and an unbeaten 100* off 41 balls from Will Jacks, helped RCB hunt down 201 with four overs and nine wickets in hand.
"All the people who talk about strike rates and me not playing spin well are the ones who love talking about this stuff. But for me, it's just about winning the game for the team," Kohli said after the match. "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."
Kohli scored 500 runs in an IPL season for the seventh time during his innings against GT. He had come into the game with a strike rate of 161.62 against fast bowlers and 123.57 against spinners in IPL 2024, but was able to get the better of GT's spin attack. Kohli scored 61 runs against Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad and Sai Kishore at a strike rate of 179, his highest against spin in a T20 innings (min. 10 balls) since 2016. Twenty-two of those 60 runs also came off sweeps - a shot that he doesn't employ regularly against spin.
"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]," Kohli said. "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."
Despite winning by nine wickets with 24 balls to spare, RCB remain at the bottom of the points table with three wins and seven losses. However, they have won their last two games, after winning only one of the first eight.
"Look, we wanted to step up for ourselves, [and] play for a bit of self-respect," Kohli said. "We can't carry on in a big tournament like we did in the first half, so it's just about going out there and playing the cricket we want to.
"If you see with the ball as well, we are attacking the game way more, and the bowlers are being courageous. The fielders are putting bodies on the line. So that's the way we want to play our cricket. That's the way we always play, and it's not been up to the standard so far in the tournament, barring the last two games.
"So yeah, we just want to continue with the same work, and just have a good atmosphere in the change room, and for us as cricketers, have some self-respect, [be aware of] why we are playing at this level, and also for the fans who back us tremendously well."
Kohli had spoken similarly last year as well after scoring a century against Gujarat Titans in what turned out to be the final match of RCB's season. Earlier this season, he spoke of how he 'still got it' in T20s after leading RCB to a win over Punjab Kings.