“Virat, Thank you for inspiring a generation. We stand with you! There are many incredible days ahead. With strength. With love. Team Hong Kong.”
Those were the words written on the back of a Hong Kong national team shirt that was gifted to Virat Kohli by the men’s team players post their Asia Cup 2022 match against India on Wednesday, August 31.
Kohli responded to the gesture on his Instagram story. “Thank you @hkcricket. This gesture is truly humbling and very very sweet,” said Kohli in his story with the image of the gifted jersey.
The gesture comes at a time when Kohli is looking to bounce back off possibly his toughest phase in international cricket so far. While the former India captain did register a half century the other night and is the highest scorer so far at Asia’s continental cricket competition, Kohli has struggled to pace his innings the way he so often has in the format.
In 2022, Kohli has 175 runs across six T20I outings at a subpar strike rate of 124.11. In the IPL this season, he had scored 341 runs in 16 games at a strike rate touching just 115. The 33-year-old has now gone for more than 1000 days since registering a triple figure score for India across formats.
On his return in India’s blues after more than a month, having skipped the tour to West Indies and Zimbabwe, Kohli had recently opened up on what the break from cricket had meant for his mental health during this forgetful phase in his cricketing career.
With over a month remaining in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia, India would be hoping for their talismanic batter to regain his form if they are to lift the trophy for the first time since 2007.