The Kohli-Amir mutual admiration society
Indian batsman comes good on promise, presents bat to Pakistani pacer during training at Eden Gardens on Friday
19 March 2016 16:26
Virat Kohli keeps his promise to Mohammad Amir.
In Mirpur during the Asia Cup, Amir had asked Kohli for a bat, and the Indian Test captain had assured the young man that he would part with one of his willows during the ICC World Twenty20. True to his word, just as the Pakistan team arrived at the ground for its pre-match training routine even as the Indians were winding down their session, Kohli handed over a pristine stick to the left-arm paceman, who also fancies himself as a batsman.
Kohli had a long conversation with Shahid Afridi in the middle of the ground, after which he beckoned Amir. The fast bowler set off on a lightning run and accepted the bat and a pat on the back from Kohli with grace and gratitude, happily skipping back to work on his bowling ahead of Saturday’s crunch game between the two traditional rivals.
“I had asked him for a bat during the Asia Cup and Virat said he would give me one in India,” said Amir later. “I am glad he remembered that. He has fantastic bats, and I am confident I will be able to contribute with the bat too in time to come for Pakistan.”
Amir, 23, is no mug with the bat. He has two first-class fifties and an average of 16.82 from 32 matches. At the international level, he has a best of 73 not out in 17 One-Day Internationals and an average of 16.80.
Kohli had been effusive in his praise of Amir both in the lead-up to the Asia Cup, and after India’s five-wicket win over Pakistan during a chase of 84, when the India No. 3’s 49 negated a fiery opening burst that fetched Amir the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina for next to nothing. “I would like to congratulate Mohammad Amir for the way he bowled, I actually congratulated him while he was bowling,” Kohli had said after that Mirpur win.
“I was really happy to play such an amazing spell of fast bowling. May god bless him with more success. That tested me out completely. To come out of that, it gives me a lot of confidence as a batsman.”