New Delhi: The off-field camaraderie between India captain Virat Kohli and Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir is an open secret, highlighted the most when Kohli presented him with a bat during the ICC World Twenty20 last year. But on the field, they remain archrivals, which was on show during the final of the ICC Champions Trophy earlier this year when Amir dismissed the Indian skipper almost twice in two balls.
“When Kohli was dropped, I thought half the game was gone, to be honest, because he is the kind of batsman (that) if you give him a chance, he won’t score less than hundred. Ninety-percent of the time, you give him a chance, he gets a hundred. Recently against New Zealand, they dropped him on 15 or 20 and he scored a hundred. He doesn’t give you a second chance,” Amir said talking to ESPNCricinfo.
Amir then revealed his thought process as he ran in to bowl to Kohli the ball after he was dropped.
“In my mind, I thought he’ll be ready for my in-swinger because the previous ball had been an outswinger. So I thought, 80-90 percent he would be ready for an in-swinger. But I wanted to bowl at him in the same area, and move it away again. If you look at the clips of it, you can see he shaped to play it to leg, he moved to play it to the on (side), thinking I was going to bring it in. My thinking was that if I bowl again in the same area, the same ball going away, he might go to play thinking it is coming in, and edge it to slip again, but it went with the angle to point.
In the same match, Pakistan batsman Fakhar Zaman was dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah off a no-ball and he went on to get a hundred that cost India the trophy.
“I remember Fakhar and how he had been out on a no-ball and had then scored a hundred. That kind of thing happens when you are walking back (to bowl); it came to me immediately and I thought I hope this doesn’t happen to us now,” he added.
“Everybody knows if you get Kohli, India is 50 percent out of the game. Till he is at the crease, India’s chances of winning are 70-80 percent. If you look at his chasing ratio, he is at the top of the world. He chases well, he performs well under pressure. So our plan was to get their top order – (Shikhar) Dhawan, (Rohit) Sharma, Kohli, the guys who were scoring runs in the tournament.
“My plan was that I didn’t want to save runs, I wanted to take wickets. If we could get one or two from the top, we could win the match,” he said.