Ahead of India’s heavyweight clash against arch-rivals Pakistan in the 2024 T20 World Cup, former Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Hafeez has heaped praise on Virat Kohli. The latter has been reborn over the last 12 months, first finishing as the highest run-scorer in the 2023 Cricket World Cup, and then winning the Orange Cap in IPL 2024. Kohli has incorporated more aggression into his game, making him indispensable even from India’s T20I XI. Hafeez explained why Kohli has been able to maintain his lofty standards for so long.

Captioning his tweet “Cricket ICON for a reason”, Hafeez posted a video on X.

“Virat has not only set a standard with his batting, but also with his fitness,” said Hafeez. “That’s why his transformation seems so natural to us,” he added.

“His fitness is the reason why he can withstand all the pressure that he carries on his shoulders,” said Hafeez. “Show me one player from the last decade who is as fit as Kohli,” he said further.

Kohli has been the pioneer behind the ever-rising fitness standards of Team India. In recent years, Kohli has played a pivotal role in deploying fitness examinations such as the Yo-Yo Test as mandatory for all Indian international cricketers.

Hafeez admired that even at 35, Kohli had kept these standards high, despite his glittering career.

“Even if Virat lets his Yo-Yo score drop from 17 to 16, or let his fat level rise from 60 to 100, it wouldn’t make a difference. He can easily say he has more than 70 hundreds, and take a step back. But he drives himself to stay one of the best athletes. He drives himself to leave a legacy no one has seen before. That’s why he is an icon.” Hafeez said.

Kohli did not get to the best of starts against Ireland in India’s opening game, being dismissed for just 1. However, Kohli boasts a phenomenal record against Pakistan in T20 World Cups, having scored 308 runs across the years. He will be looking to create more records against them on June 9.

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