World Cup 2019: No one believes in my bowling but I do, says Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli has not bowled in international cricket since December 2017 (BCCI Photo)

Virat Kohli has joked that if his India teammates had enough belief in his ability with the ball in his hand he could have had much more than the eight international wickets he has to his name. The India skipper, the top ODI batsman in the world, has not bowled for India since 2017.

Revealing how Jasprit Bumrah questioned his bowling ability the last time he volunteered to bowl, Kohli said, "It was the during the ODI series in Sri Lanka (in 2017) where we had almost won everything, I asked MS (Dhoni) if I could bowl. Just when I was getting ready to roll my arm over, Bumrah (Jasprit) shouted from the boundary and said ‘no joking around, this is an international game’."

Kohli has not bowled in international cricket since that match. He has occasionally rolled his arm over in training sessions, bowling seam-up deliveries and off cutters.

"No one in the team believes in my bowling but I do. After that I had back issues and then never bowled (in an international match)," Kohli said in a Star Sports interview.

Kohli had bowled in the 2016 World T20 semi-final against West Indies. On that occasion, MS Dhoni opted to throw the ball to him when India needed to defend 7 runs in the last over, despite Ravichandran Ashwin still not having finished his quota of overs. Kohli had failed to emerge as the hero with the ball on that occasion.

Kohli has said in the past that he knows his bowling action is unorthodox and that it draws a few smiles. However, he revealed on Sunday that he used to emulate the bowling action of England’s James Anderson when he had been training in New Delhi in his earliest days.

"I used to follow James Anderson’s action when I was at the academy (in Delhi). Later, when I got to play alongside him, I told him about that story. We both had a good laugh over it," Kohli said.

Little would he have known then that his duel with James Anderson would one day be one of the most well-chronicled personal contests in cricket.