Keyur Mandrekar, Denver, USA :
Curious Case of Virat Kohli : India vs West Indies, the only team that has won the T20 World Cup two times, met yet again for the second T20 and after winning the toss, inserted India in to bat. Ishan Kishan looking completely at sea with the marginally moving ball made way for Virat Kohli in the second over.
Virat, a player who has set this standards so high, is currently going through a lean patch averaging ‘just’ 45 in the last two years in ODIs and ‘just’ 74 in 2021 for T20’s.
Virat, as a cricketer has set levels so high that anything under a 100 makes him look like he is struggling. Today, Virat walked in and some of the shots that were played as he walked in, again that inkling of hope that maybe today was the day when we get to see number 71.
This is what is so frustrating when we as cricket fans, see Virat throwing it away after all the hard work. Virat, as a batsman has never really looked out of touch since his last 100 against a Bangladesh side without their primary bowlers.
Virat has looked his pristine self against pace (Curious Case of Virat Kohli)
When we talk lean patches, we can relate those to the likes of Joe Root or for that matter Sachin Tendulkar from the yesteryears, where we saw them having a genuine concern against the incoming ball.
Yes, we do see Virat getting caught in the slips when he goes fishing for one outside the 6th stump, but in the white ball, he has always looked in supreme touch. All though Virat has looked his pristine self against pace, he has shown some concern in rotating the strike against spin and maybe we see him go for that extravagant shot and throw it all away.
But nonetheless, if we look at the control he has even when he is defending spin, it never seems like he has lost his touch to not be able to score against them. From where we see, it has to be a mental block. Now that we talk mental block, let us discuss Virat Kohli the human who has seen many changes that have happened around him in the last 3 years.
A wife and a daughter, as positive as it may seem, it is a massive change that does impact an individual’s mental balance. We talk about the constant regression of playing at the highest level and then not being backed by the leadership with a team of his choice, that followed with captaincy being stripped of him.
That was followed by reports from two different camps that seemed poles apart. All these factors will weigh down even the best. All great batsman have to adjust their style of play based on the team and the changes the teams go through. Champions manage to still find their mark and keep pushing their levels further up.
As Harsha Bhogle mentioned – All great batsman go through this and when they get back in their element, they more than make up for it. It is not a question of ‘IF’ Virat Kohli can do it again, its more a matter of ‘WHEN’ will we see it happen. Right now the best we can do is, let him enjoy his space, keep him out of News and as an Indian fan, hope he answers his critics with the bat sometime in October.
Isn’t that what Champions do? They wait for the right time to strike.
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