IPL 2024: Chennai Super Kings hope to restrict ‘refreshed’ Virat Kohli | Cricket News

This Friday, as the curtains rise on IPL, the spotlight will be on two former Indian captains, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, at the grand opening act at MA Chidambaram Stadium. While Dhoni has retired from international cricket, for Kohli, this IPL will be an audition for the 2024 World Cup scheduled immediately after the league ends.
The 35-year-old premier batter, who was on paternity leave, has been out of action for over two months. His last outing was in the T20I series against Afghanistan. After that, he pulled out of the five-match Test series against England.

Kohli joined the Royal Challengers Bengaluru camp in the early hours of Monday and has been working hard at the nets. However, on the eve of their opener against Chennai Super Kings, the former RCB captain chose to skip the training session on Thursday.

Kohli, who is still gunning for the elusive IPL trophy, will be heading into the tournament without much training or match practice behind him. However, CSK’s head coach Stephen Fleming expects Kohli to be ‘very dangerous’.

“His (Kohli) mental strength is something that I admire and others around the world admire. And whatever the challenges are in front of him, he will always find a way. It might have been a refreshing thing to get away from the game, refresh mentally and physically and come back. He’s had a life celebration as well. We’re expecting him to be at his very best. And if we can restrict that, that would be great,” said Fleming.
Mo Bobat, RCB’s director of cricket operations, said Kohli is ‘fresh’ with energy and has had some practice sessions in the past few days. “Virat is in a good place. He is coming in fresh…with energy. He is in a great frame of mind. He’s looking forward to getting involved. He has had a few hits with us over the last few days and he is hitting the ball brilliantly.”

Former Australia cricketer Matthew Hayden feels the Chepauk surface could be a challenging pitch for Kohli.
“Virat has an average of 30 at Chepauk with a strike rate of 111. It is a tricky surface to bat on, especially as an opening batter. It gets a weird tennis ball-type bounce and quite slow and difficult to play shots early, but the longer you bat, the game opens up and that’s where Virat can be at his most dangerous. If he is prepared to bat the 20 overs, he can put together a match-winning performance,” Hayden told Star Sports.




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