Virat Kohli returns to India in time for IPL

A well-rested Kohli will prove to be more dangerous for opponents, says Irfan Pathan. The last time Kohli played a competitive game were two T20Is against Afghanistan at home

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

NH Sports Bureau

The greying beard did not escape social media’s hawk eyes, but it was a relaxed Virat Kohli who landed at Mumbai airport on Sunday – just in time to join the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad for IPL 2024.

It was his first public appearance since the third week of January when he suddenly pulled out of the five-Test series against England due to personal reasons.

‘Akaay’s dad,’ quipped Lokesh Saini, a fan on his X handle in zest, referring to their second child born on February 15 in the UK. The announcement by the former Indian captain on Instagram laid to rest speculations about the nature of the ‘personal reasons’ which had prompted Kohli to stay out of the series which Rohit Sharma and his men won 4-1.

While Kohli stands tall in the annals of IPL as the only batter to have scored more than 7000 runs (7263), one of the regrets of the one franchise man had been never to have lifted the trophy.

The new season offers one more chance for the 35-year-old, while he would also like to silence the doubters about his adaptability to this format with the news circulating about him being not in the frame for the T20 World Cup in June.

The last time Kohli played a competitive game were two T20Is against Afghanistan at home, but as former Indian allrounder Irfan Pathan has pointed out, a well-rested Kohli can often prove to be more dangerous with the bat.

“First of all, he will be fresh. Guys like Virat Kohli, who are so fit, can be very dangerous for oppositions. He will be looking forward to playing in the IPL. I personally feel that he will have the second-best season of his life after 2016,” Pathan said in Star Sports media event. Incidentally, Kohli had aggregated a mammoth 973 runs in that edition of IPL.

The IPL 2024 season is poised for an electrifying start with RCB scheduled to take on holders Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the opening match on March 22 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

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