Virat Kohli: Batting and captaincy in question
Virat Kohli has not been in his rhythm for some time now. During this, everyone has seen that Virat Kohli could not get the Indian team out of trouble according to his identity.
The impact of his failure with the bat is clearly visible on the batting of the entire team. Kohli’s failure with the bat is also evident from the statistics. He last scored a Test century in November 2019. He has not been able to score a century in the last 51 innings of all three formats of the game.
Had Kohli been in his stride, the Indian team would not have lost by an innings margin at Headingley in just four days after winning the historic Lord’s Test.
The current series of India and England are tied one each and there are still two matches left in the series.
With the fourth Test of the series starting at The Oval on Thursday, whether the Indian team will be able to make a comeback after the loss at Headingley will largely depend on Kohli.
The question is what happened to Kohli’s bat?
In front of the swing bowlers, Kohli is seen struggling in front of the balls outside the off-stump. It seems that he is not having any idea of his off-stump while going to play the shots. The balls on which they are getting out after playing shots, they can easily be let into the gloves of the wicketkeeper.
England’s bowlers have also sensed his weakness and they are constantly testing him on the same line length.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, two important batsmen at the other end with him, are known to play leisurely, both of whom are in no hurry to play their shots. But in England, both of them are losing wickets like Kohli, which is why the Indian middle order is not performing as expected.
During India’s tour of England in 2018, Kohli had scored two centuries and once 97 runs, then James Anderson could not get him out even once. In that tour, Kohli was playing the balls close to his body and his eyes were on the ball.
But in this tour, he is leaving out swing balls, but the balls coming out after hitting the line of off-stump are troubling him. Kohli will have to work on both mental and physical aspects to overcome this difficulty.
Along with batting, Kohli also has the burden of captaincy. It is not only the pressure of winning consecutive Test series and doing better with the bat, but also the challenge of choosing a balanced and effective team and making better strategies.
There have also been captains like England’s Mike Brearley and India’s Tiger Pataudi, who proved to be match-winning captains for the team even in times of failure with the bat. To be included in this league, India will have to win the first series in England since 2007. He has to prove that whether the team is doing well or underperforming – he is a motivator for the team in every situation.
impact off the field
Kohli enjoys his captaincy to the fullest. He also enjoys making his mark on the team. He also competes with his teammates. His record as captain is excellent. After assuming the captaincy, his batting average has improved a lot.
In 64 Test matches as captain, Kohli has scored at an average of over 56, while in the 31 Tests in which he has not been captain, his batting average is only slightly better than 41. Keep in mind here that he is the most successful Test captain of India with 37 Test victories.
Kohli has been an aggressive captain since the early days. The effect of his aggression started showing on Team India as well. Whether it was a way of celebrating the team’s victory or sparring on the opposition players – the whole team was seen in the color of a confident Kohli. Team spirit within Indian cricket is more clearly manifested in Kohli’s captaincy than any other captain. He gave three mantras of success to the entire team – excellent fitness, excellent fielding and importance of Test cricket.
Once I remember a lunch with Virat Kohli in the hotel in which I saw other players peeping into Virat Kohli’s plate and ordering the same dish that they were eating. Like a good team captain, Kohli has been an inspiration to his players off the field as well.
Kohli’s flair has slipped a little on the right and it is because of his aggressiveness with his poor batting.
Actually it is such a style that if it works, it seems appropriate when it wins, but when it is not, it starts looking silly and childish.
Have Indian players crossed the limit?
However, both the batting and captaincy of 32-year-old Kohli are under question. In terms of captaincy, Kohli’s decision proved right in the Lord’s Test when he gave England a chance to bat 60 overs in the last innings. The England team could not overcome this challenge.
But the same Kohli was devastated after seeing the dirty wicket at Headingley. He elected to bat after winning the toss and the entire team was bundled out for just 78 runs. After that England’s batsmen raised a mountain of 432 runs on the same pitch.
A break of the TV broadcast of the same match showed glimpses of the 2002 India-England Test at Headingley. Then India captain Sourav Ganguly won the toss and decided to bat on the wicket with the help of seam bowling. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid were in his team. In this match, all three scored centuries and India won by an innings.
Unlike that match, in this series we saw that Kohli was constantly asking Jasprit Bumrah to bowl a bouncer in front of Anderson, the No 11 batsman in England, this clearly shows Kohli’s thinking.
In this thinking it seems important to create animosity and attack before it is provoked. Sometimes there is a perception that mere victory is not enough. Along with this, the opposition players should also be insulted. However it has no place in the game.
The way Kohli and the team members made fun of the England batsmen during the Lord’s Test, it was reaching beyond the stump mic.
I wrote in one of my columns at the time, “Do we want to see the players on our team as bullies who take the 22-yard crease and everything else, or do we have some other way to win? There is also a method that does not lead to our attitude towards this kind of behaviour.”
There were many reactions of people on this article. Most of the fans said that your thinking about Kohli is wrong. But there were many people who believed that Kohli had crossed the limit.
Most people’s reaction was, do you want a soft Kohli who loses the Test or an aggressive Kohli who wins? Although abuses were also received, no one wants to hear criticism on victory.
Despite this, captaincy cannot be about attacking all the time. Kohli has shown that his team cannot be taken lightly. But better performance is considered the best revenge.
It is said in the game, ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’. In such a situation, if India wins this series, then people will forget all this. If Kohli hits with the bat in this victory, then no one will remember anything except the victory, that is for sure.