Mohammad Amir vs Virat Kohli – A love affair and a battle within a battle

Mohammad Amir vs Virat Kohli – A love affair and a battle within a battle

The love affair between the world's no. 1 batsman and skilful Mohammad Amir will continue. Who will down who? We would have to wait to find out.

Mohammad Amir of Pakistan and Virat Kohli of India. (Photo by Philip Brown/Getty Images)

The adulation between the Indian skipper Virat Kohli and Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir isn’t anything hidden from the world. Both have announced themselves as the biggest fans of each other whenever they have had the chance. It all started with Kohli surprisingly announcing Amir as the toughest bowler he has faced in a talk show.

“You always have to be on your ‘A’ game when you’re facing him or he will strike. Outstanding, a very good bowler,” he had said. Mohammad Amir returned the favour a few days later by terming Virat Kohli as the greatest batsman to bowl to. On the field, they have been each other’s nemesis having first met each other in the ICC Champions Trophy game in 2009. However, Amir didn’t get a chance to bowl at Kohli in that game.

He did eventually get his chance a year later in the Asia Cup where he couldn’t outsmart Kohli in the six balls he bowled at him. For the next few years, they won’t meet each other mainly due to Mohammad Amir serving his 5-year long suspension from cricket for his involvement in spot-fixing.

It’s Asia T20 Cup 2016 – nearly 6 years after their meeting. Virat Kohli meets a furious Mohammad Amir defending a modest total of 83 runs. He got rid of an in-form Rohit Sharma second ball of the innings and made Kohli edge the first ball he faced to third man. Two balls later, Kohli survived a huge lbw appeal on an in-swinger that hit him on the thigh. He switches to survival mode as if it was the only way to tame a scary Mohammad Amir out for redemption. 15 balls faced, only four scoring shots offered. Numbers won’t depict the skill at display that day from both but Virat Kohli survived.

The duo met each other on two other occasions (in the World T20 2016 and in the CT 2017 Group Stage game) but it wasn’t until the final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 when Mohammad Amir finally managed to send Virat Kohli back to the pavilion. World’s no. 1 batsman Kohli versus Amir who had just recovered from a back spasm. Overcast conditions. Mammoth total of 338 runs to chase and India one down for nought. Pressure of the final and both of them ready to deride each other.

Amir got the first ball to zip past Kohli’s off stump. He errs on the second ball and the batsman was quick to react, drilling it to Shoaib Malik at mid-off for no run. Virat knew that Amir is targeting is off-stump so he shuffled across to manoeuvre the ball to grab a pair of twos through square-leg. Sixth ball, he finally decides to stay in the line and feel the ball on his bat but it nips away just a touch to take the outside edge and land into the hands of Azhar Ali at first slip who fails to hold onto it.

Amir was furious. So was Nasser Hussain on TV commentary. Next ball, Kohli tries to shuffle across and guide the ball to square leg similar to what he had done a few balls ago but it gets a leading edge, scoops in the air to Shadab Khan at point who makes no mistake this time.

Mohammad Amir punches the air in delight as he finally gets rid of Virat Kohli seven years after the first meeting. Ardent cricket fans from both the countries know that it’s not the first time one had the upper hand on the other.

Two years later, they meet again. The love affair between the world’s no. 1 batsman and skilful Mohammad Amir will continue. Who will down who? We would have to wait to find out.