Virat Kohli remains a key player for India, said head coach Rahul Dravid, who is happy with the refreshed former captain’s Asia Cup form and said people should not get hung up with statistics.
The 33-year-old Kohli made an unbeaten 59 in India’s group win over Hong Kong and looks revitalised ahead of the Asia Cup holders’ Super Four clash with fierce rivals Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday night.
Kohli’s lean patch — he has not scored an international century in any format since 2019 — has been a constant talking point among fans and pundits.
But Dravid insisted the former captain was getting back to top form after a break from the game.
“It’s nice to see that he has come back fresh,” Dravid told reporters.
“He played very well in the last match, and we are happy with his performance. For us, it’s not really about how many runs he makes.
“Especially with Virat, people get a little bit obsessed with his statistics and his numbers. For us, it’s not really about that,” said Dravid.
Kohli revealed recently that he had tried to fake his intensity after suffering mental health issues, before taking a break from cricket and skipping India’s tours of the West Indies and Zimbabwe.
Kohli began the six-nation tournament, which is an important tune-up for the T20 World Cup next month, with a crucial 35 in the narrow win over Pakistan.
“For us, it’s about the contributions he can make in different phases of the game and what the contribution is. It doesn’t have to be in fifties or hundreds or a stat,” said Dravid.
“Even small contributions mean a lot in T20 cricket, what is the role of a player and what the team needs. Virat is pretty keen in putting in big performances. Hopefully he can keep doing that in the tournament.”
Kohli, who has struck 27 centuries in 102 Tests since making his debut in 2011, endured a torrid past 12 months that also saw him replaced as national captain.
He recently played his 100th Twenty20 international and has an average more than 50 including 31 half-centuries.