Virat Kohli vs Mohammad Amir. This is one battle the world will be yearning to see.
About less than a month back, this battle or this tag line would’ve have been apt with Mohammad Amir struggling to get in to the Pakistan World Cup squad. However, the heat is on and the battle is set up beautifully.
It’s no secret that both Virat Kohli and Mohammad Amir admire each other quite a bit. While Kohli has named Amir as one of the toughest bowlers he’s faced, the Pakistan left-arm fast bowler has named the Indian skipper as the best in the world. Hence, there is immense mutual respect between the two.
Moreover, both of them seem to be at the top of their game. Virat Kohli is arguably the best batsman in ODI cricket at the moment. No player has more runs or hundreds than the Indian skipper since the 2015 World Cup. He has churned out runs for fun in the last few years and has been the fulcrum of the Indian batting line-up.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Amir made a comeback from his five-year ban in early 2016. He had a good comeback but before this World Cup, he had a rough patch for a couple of years. His performance in the 2017 Champions Trophy final was simply brilliant but since then he had faded away. In 15 ODIs, he picked up a mere five wickets. Moreover, his place in the Pakistan squad for the World Cup was dubious as he wasn’t named in the initial 15. However, experience and his big-match temperament went in his favour as the selectors decided to pick him over Junaid Khan.
Amir has announced himself in this World Cup with a bang. He is the leading wicket-taker (10 wickets in three innings) and has bowled beautifully throughout the tournament. He has troubled the opposition batsmen with pace, bounce and swing. Moreover, he’s looked lethal with both the new and the old ball. Hence, the battle between Kohli and Amir promises to be a clash of the titans.
These two have faced each other a few times in 2016 and 2017. In 2016, it was only in T20s but the battle was a riveting one. In the Asia Cup 2016, the left-arm fast bowler was at the top of his game. He was swinging the ball at pace and had knocked three of India’s top four with Kohli being the exception.
Amir troubled Kohli on a couple of occasions but then Kohli got on top of the left-armer and drove India to victory. A similar battle broke out in the World T20 a month later and India faced a similar situation as they lost three early wickets. However, once again, Kohli stood up and delivered as he dominated Amir in that game.
The two faced each other a year later in the 2017 Champions Trophy. In the first game, Kohli scored 81 off 68 balls as Amir went wicketless. However, in the final of that tournament, Amir delivered when it mattered the most. He knocked down India’s top three for very little and gave Pakistan the advantage.
His spell to Kohli was a riveting one too. Amir troubled Kohli throughout the latter’s stay and in fact, there was even a drop catch. However, Amir didn’t let the drop prove too costly as he got him the next ball, which almost killed India’s hopes of chasing the runs in that final.
In toto, Amir has dismissed Kohli just once in international cricket. However, there have been moments when Amir has been on the top while on others, Kohli has dominated. Thus, the battle between the two has been an enthralling one and we are set for one other battle should the weather allow it.