He once ruled world cricket but nowadays his bat has stopped doing the talking. Because cricket is a game obsessed with stats and numbers, many feel Virat Kohli has been out form since late 2019. This is because his elusive 71st international ton has not come in this period. While the stat is correct, the observartion is not. Kohli has been making runs, in England and Australia and at home, but the big hundreds have eluded him. That is the benchmark that he set for himself and he has been a victim of his own standards. So to say that he has been completely out of form is not justified. It’s the last 6 months or so which has been the most difficult period for Kohli. The poor form hit him the worst here. No runs in South Africa, then a dry spell in IPL and now struggle in England. The pressure builds on him as the T20 World Cup comes closer and closer.
Many experts believe that Kohli’s experience will be needed in Australia. For he has played enough in those conditions to tackle the pace and bounce. India can bank on him to take the side home from positions where they have lost 3 quick wickets for just 20 inside 6 overs. Kohli has played the role of an anchor brilliantly in the past. He did the same at the 2016 edition. But T20 cricket has changed a lot since then. Today, you need to not only anchor the innings, but power-anchor it. Steady the innings but ensure runs come at good run-rate.
Another thing to consider is that under Rohit Sharma, India have changed their approach in T20s. Earlier, they were conscious of keeping wickets in hand, taking game deeper, showing the patience game. This was somewhere the MS Dhoni school of T20 cricket, which has become outdated in international cricket. Teams today like to attack from the word go. India have understood this later but it is refreshing to see them adopt it in the England series. In both the innings India played, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan have looked to set the tempo from ball number 1. And even after losing wickets, the idea to drop the guard has not been implemented. As a result, India posted 170/8 in 2nd T20 despite losing half of side for under 100. Many slammed Kohli for getting out on 1 off 3 balls. But what goes missing was his intent. Like other batters, he too looked to get going right from the start and ended up mistiming one shot and got out.
Kohli is agreeing to play with the new approach but can he? He isn’t the kind of batter who attacks from the word go. Kohli takes time, nudges one here and there to rotate strike and then goes big. That has been the template of his battig. To suddenly be asked to up the strike rate could turn out to be a mercurial task for him. With competition increasing for his spot as Deepak Hooda, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan wait in the wings, it could get tougher for Kohli to find a spot in the T20 World Cup team.
Virat Kohli is here to break the winning streak of Rohit Sharma . pic.twitter.com/NDkvKssbrf
— Ritika Malhotra__ (@FanGirlRohit45) July 10, 2022
Many former India players believe that Kohli should be dropped from T20s if he is not making runs. Zaheer Khan said that a winning combination, even if it does not have Kohli, should not be changed, Kapil Dev wanted him dropped while Parthiv Patel has a new idea: why not play with a young team like the 2007 World Cup with seniors stepping away.
The narrative of Kohli-less India in T20s has begun and it is about time that the former captain steps up. Reputation may still take him to World Cup but runs will keep his place safe. The last T20 vs England could be a make or break game for him, in that regard. As per reports, he has asked for a break from T20s in West Indies. After that India do not play many T20s apart from Asia Cup in August. That is why a good show in 3rd T20 is what Kohli would be expecting from himself with selectors keeping a close eye.