‘Give him the respect he deserves’ - Shoaib Akhtar comes out in defense of Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli failed to register a single century since November 2019 in any format of the game.

Shoaib Akhtar and Virat Kohli
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Shoaib Akhtar and Virat Kohli (Photo Source: Twitter)

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Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has urged former cricketers not to criticise Virat Kohli for his poor run of form. He asked everyone to give Kohli the respect that he deserves over the years. The former Indian skipper has been facing a lot of criticism later due to his off form. He had a mediocre IPL season as he scored 341 runs in 16 matches at an average of 22.73 with a strike rate of 115.98. He managed only two 50+ scores in the tournament.

Speaking on his off-form, former cricketers like Ian Bishop, Virender Sehwag and Daniel Vettori criticised the batter’s performance in the recently concluded IPL 2022. Pakistan legend Shoaib Akhtar did not like this kind of treatment as he shared his views. 

Say good things about Virat Kohli: Shoaib Akhtar 

Akhtar said that good things need to be told about Kohli as small kids look up to him. “Before passing statements, people should understand that small kids look up to them. Say good things about Virat Kohli. Give him the respect he deserves. As a Pakistani, I am saying that he is the greatest player of all time. I want him to score 110 centuries in international cricket. I want him to play till the age of 45,” he told Sportskeeda. 

The Pakistan pacer also requested the batter not to worry about his form as these tough situations will help him to have a great run ahead. He added: “This tough situation is preparing you for 110 centuries. People are writing you off, tweeting against you. If you tweet about Diwali, you are criticised. People tweet about your wife and kid. When you lose the World Cup, you are heavily criticised. Things cannot get any worse. Just go out there, and show everyone who Virat Kohli is.”

People should learn from Sachin Tendulkar: Shoaib Akhtar

Akhtar also heaped high praises on Sachin Tendulkar for not hurting anyone with his comments. He also said that everyone should learn from the Indian legend.

“Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest and humblest guy ever. I really adore him when it comes to his behaviour and nature. He is always thinking about what he says and respects other cricketers. People should learn from Sachin Tendulkar. Despite being such a great cricketer, he doesn’t tweet or say anything that can hurt anyone. Similarly, other former cricketers should give mature statements.” Akhtar concluded.

Since November 2019, Kohli failed to register a century in any format of the game. The 33-year-old is being rested for the upcoming home T20I series against South Africa. He is scheduled to get back in action when India will face England for the rescheduled Test in Birmingham, which gets underway on 1 July.