Virat Kohli said 'I'm back at my absolute best': Ponting warns Australia ahead of WTC final

Virat Kohli made it quite clear that he won't change his technique to become a slam-bang batter in the IPL as he has a WTC final coming up next month and moreover, he has to play different formats throughout 12 months. This was some statement coming from a man who has been criticised, sometimes wrongly, for his strike-rate in T20s more often than ever. But that's Kohli for you. Always confident and ready to fight fire with fire. Of course, the sublime century he scored against Sunrisers Hyderabad to help his side Royal Challengers Bangalore take a giant stride towards ensuring a playoff berth helped.

Kohli is perhaps the last of the lot who can play all formats and win games without compromising on his batting fundamentals much. The all-format batter is fast diminishing, such has been the different demands of T20s, ODIs and Tests.

Consider the example of the top Indian cricketers. They played an intense four-match Test series against Australia and switched to T20 mode in a completely different franchise environment for the IPL within days. Come June 7, they will once again have to make that mental and technical adjustment when they take on Australia but this time, with a bigger prize at stake. Not to mention, the difficulties of playing at a neutral venue like The Oval.

That is where players like Virat Kohli stand out. They are able to make those adjustments and come out on top more often than not. If this is not proof enough then legendary Australia captain Ricky Ponting's conversation with Kohli should do the work. Ponting, who is currently the coach of Delhi Capitals, threw light on the conversation he had with Kohli a few days ago during one of the league matches in this year's IPL.

“I caught up with Virat about a month ago when we played them in Bangalore,” said Ponting. “And I had a good chat with him about his batting and where he was at and his career. And he said to me then that he actually feels like he's almost back to his absolute best.

“You probably saw that last night, you know, he's had a very good IPL and I'm sure he'll be the prize wicket that all the Australians are looking are looking forward to.”

After going through a prolonged lean patch of two years, Kohli slowly started to find his mojo back from the Asia Cup last year and once he scored that century against Afghanistan - his first in the shortest format - there was no looking back. The Kohli of old was back. The runs started to flow, the centuries kept coming.

This is perhaps one of the major reasons why Ponting considers the WTC final a battle between India's top-order and Australia's pace attack led by captain Pat Cummins.

“I think it'll be India's top order against Australia's fast bowling, It’s a bit of a mouth-watering thought going forward.

“Generally, we think about the battles between India's spinners and Australia's batters. But will that be negated by the wicket at The Oval? Normally the wickets that I've played on The Oval have started as really good batting wickets, and actually have offered a little bit to the spinners as the game's going on. That's what I'd like to see in this wicket – to have a really good contest on day four, day five, or maybe even day six, seeing how it's going," he said.

The two-time World Cup-winning captain was also asked about the effect the IPL might have on the contrasting workload of the Indian and Australian cricketers ahead of the WTC final.

“There are two ways you can look at it,” he said. “For someone like Virat (Kohli) – is he better off playing now and scoring runs at a consistent basis, and having confidence going into a game? Rather than being the Australian guys that have been back home, haven't been playing much cricket, will be mentally better prepared, but haven't got the runs and cricket under their belt …

“Is Mohammad Shami going to be in a better (position) skill-wise than Pat Cummins is? Cummins hasn't played any cricket for a few months now. It's a hard one. A lot of it comes down to the individual.

“The Indian players that are here playing in the IPL won't only be thinking about the IPL. They'll be on workload management stuff to make sure that they're right to bowl in a Test match in a couple of weeks’ time.'

Disclaimer: This Article is auto-generated from the HT news service.