23 May 2024, 11:21
Update : 23 May 2024, 12:40

Kohli still hungry and evolving, says Bengaluru coach Flower

AHMEDABAD, India, May 23, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - An IPL title has eluded Virat
Kohli for 17 years, but Royal Challengers Bengaluru coach Andy Flower praised
the star cricketer for his enduring "hunger" for the game.

Bengaluru were knocked out of the Indian Premier League playoffs by Rajasthan
Royals on Wednesday in Ahmedabad with a distraught Kohli tipping the bails
after the four-wicket loss.

Kohli, 35, has led the Twenty20 tournament's batting charts with 741 runs,
including a century and five fifties, but failed to inspire his team to the
finish in a roller-coaster season.

Flower said he was looking forward to watching the India cricket hero bat in
the T20 World Cup starting June 1 in the West Indies and the United States.

"Working in the same dressing room with him has been a real pleasure," former
Zimbabwe captain and England coach Flower told reporters.

"As an ex-batsman it has been an absolute pleasure to watch him bat."

Kohli hit 33 in the do-or-die clash at the world's biggest cricket stadium
and remained a force in the field as he ran out Dhruv Jurel with a bullet
throw from the outfield.

"The way he thinks about the game -- and he backs that up with an amazing
level of skill, aggression and hunger -- I look forward to watching him in
the World Cup," Flower said.

"I think it's amazing that he is still evolving his game, even though he has
got an incredible record already," he added.

Known to wear his emotions on the sleeve, Kohli remained animated throughout
the high-octane encounter played in searing heat.

He finally left the field disappointed, but with the orange cap for the
highest tournament run-scorer firmly on his head.

Kohli was slammed by critics, including batting great Sunil Gavaskar, for his
strike-rate at the start of the season in the hard-hitting Twenty20 format.

Called "King Kohli" for his prolific run-scoring, the batsman however
finished with a strike-rate of 154.69 in 15 matches and smashed 38 sixes.

Former Bengaluru teammate AB de Villiers said Kohli, who had taken a dig at
his critics, performs best under pressure.

"Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, getting a bit of criticism, because
stuff like that motivates him so much," De Villiers said on Jio Cinema.

Delhi head coach and Australia great Ricky Ponting also defended Kohli.

"It's funny with Virat," Ponting told the International Cricket Council.

"I think people in India just always try to find a reason... why he's maybe
not as good as some of these other guys in the T20 game," he said, but added
that Kohli is the "first pick for me for India."

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