‘He gets a 50 in the very first game’

‘Mouths will be shut for the rest of the tournament.’

All eyes will be on Virat Kohli during the Asia Cup.

Kohli was rested for the series against West Indies and Zimbabwe, and it would be interesting to see how he performs in Dubai.

Kohli, who is approaching his 100th T20I, was backed by former head coach Ravi Shastri to end his lean patch of form in the Asia Cup.

Ahead of the tournament, Shastri said the batter is a ‘machine’, whose hunger and passion for the game remains undiminished.

‘He will come back with a calmer mind because the heat is off. You have been away. Now, what you do will get the tone. He gets a fifty in the very first game, mouths will be shut for the rest of the tournament,’ Shastri predicted.

‘What’s happened in the past is history. Remember, public memory is very short. So it works both ways. His opportunity here is to get that calmness and then take it one day at a time,’ Shastri told Star Sports.

‘One stat came up during the Test against England, and it shocked me really. It said during the last three years when you look at the top players in the world, (Kane) Williamson, Babar (Azam), Kohli, Joe Root, David Warner Virat had played three times the number of games as everyone else across all cricket,’ Shastri pointed out .

‘He was at about 950 games and the next was at 400, less than half. When you are captain of a side, playing all three formats, it takes a toll. That’s why the break might just come around and do wonders,’ Shastri explained.

‘There has been no Indian cricketer fitter than him, and I say it with experience. Nobody works harder, and is fitter at his age than he is. He is a machine; it is just the case of him getting his mind right and being in the right frame of mind to approach games like this,’ Shastri said.

‘We have often heard that 1-2 innings can make a difference, but with a player like him, it can make a massive difference, one innings, because he has got the fitness, physical strength. Performance will get the mental strength back, the hunger and passion remains undiminished,’ Shastri added.

‘Let me assure you that, he is hungry and passionate. He would have learnt from this patch he has gone through. All players do, when you are on the rise, right at the pinnacle of your career and a slump brings you right down. Then it is your character that helps you get up and fight again. He has all those qualities,’ Shastri stated.

Asked if he has had any word with Kohli of late, Shastri said: ‘No, I haven’t spoken to him, but it is not rocket science. The big players wake up, they wake up in due course. The mental fatigue could creep in, it can happen to the best players.’

‘I am sure this downtime is not just for the body, it is time to reflect as to what things he could have done better, what things he could have done right and what things he did right and should keep focusing on that,’ Shastri added.

‘What things he allowed to creep in his mind that were not required at all.’

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