There is little doubt that India captain Virat Kohli is one of the modern-day greats when it comes to sheer class and consistency across formats. King Kohli’s numbers speak for himself, averaging over 50- in Tests, ODIs and T20Is. While he has accumulated 7547 runs in 92 Tests at an average of 52.04, in 254 ODIs he has scored 12169, averaging 59.07 at a strike rate of 93.17. In addition, Kohli has played 90 T20Is and made 3159 runs at an average of 52.65 and a strike rate of 139.04.
Such is the quality of his batsmanship that he has as many as 70 international hundreds to his credit. And his biggest strength is conquering his own demons. Like every top-level athlete, Kohli too had his struggles and his technical deficits were exposed during the tour of England in 2014. In as many as 10 innings, Kohli accumulated a little over 130 runs, forget about a champion cricketer like Kohli, the numbers are dismal even for the mediocre batter.
But it’s what one learns from the mistakes and how he/she implements it that differentiates a successful career from a not so successful one and Kohli made amends in 2018. He almost waited for his next opportunity and grabbed on to it with both hands, emerging as the highest run-getter from both teams, finishing with 593 runs in his 10 innings.
A slight dip in Kohli form gauging from his own surreal standards
However, from Kohli’s surreal standards, one can argue that there is a slight dip in his form in recent times. While he hasn’t scored an international hundred since November 2019, his dismissal in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand against the inswinging delivery is reminiscent of his horror 2014 England tour.
In an old interview with Sky Sports, Kohli explains what exactly went wrong during the 2014 tour. He said that he was expecting the ball to come into him too much which impacted his footwork and opened up his hip a lot more than it should have. He further says how his foot wasn’t going towards point but was headed towards cover-point, which meant he was too side on to play a stroke if he didn’t open up his hip. Kohli added in this interview to Nasser Hussain that he didn’t leave any room for his shoulder in that position to adjust to the line of the ball.
Here is the interview clip:
This is exactly what he changed prior to the 2018 tour where he made sure that his toe was pointing towards the point direction and did not anticipate the inswinger too much. But in the second innings of the World Test Championship final, he got out to an inswinging delivery due to the same flaw which he seemed to have mastered in 2018. However, he had reasons to believe that the ball would come in since he had been dismissed by the inswingers till then not only in the first innings of the summit clash but also in the Test matches in New Zealand which were a part of this Test Championship cycle.
But given that he anticipated the ball coming in, he got into an awkward position for the outswing and gave his wicket at Southampton. With a five-Test match tour of England coming up, which history will repeat itself- will it be the Kohli of 2014 or the Kohli of 2018 who will turn up? One thing is for sure, that his form could even prove to be the deciding factor of the series which India would want to win after their heroics Down Under in 2020-21.