Virat Kohli Is Yet To Return To His Form, Will Be A Decisive Match

Virat Kohli Is Yet To Return To His Form, Will Be A Decisive Match

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30 Jun 2022
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England vs India

Virat Kohli has been seen struggling in Tests for some time now. Virat Kohli averaged just 28.21 in Test cricket in 2021 and played three Test matches in 2022 in which he averages 37.80.

India was playing a Test series in South Africa when England was going through a rough patch in Australia. India lost that series 2–1 – the home team won the second and third Tests comfortably while chasing 200-plus – fought first innings, which turned out to be a highly trendy way to win a Test match.

After the final Test loss, Virat Kohli stepped down from captaincy, having played three medium innings in the Indian Test win against Sri Lanka, and his worst IPL season since 2009. He has been without a century since the end of 2019, in that time he has played 17 Tests and averaged 28 runs, only 42 runs per 100 balls.

In his last 55 Test matches, since December 2014, he had scored an average of 63 with a strike-rate of 61. Simultaneously he had converted 21 of his 34 fifties into 100 scores. Confident mastery and run-addicts have vanished from his batting, which may have led to the decline, and has almost certainly been amplified by the influence of cricket and captaincy across all formats.

Many great players have gone through this phase and emerged from similar careers. After scoring an unbeaten 194 against Pakistan in March 2005, Sachin Tendulkar’s Test career average was 58. From April 2004 to November 2007, he averaged only 32 against the top eight Test teams, except for four matches against a weak Bangladesh team. In his next 35 Tests, he got 14 centuries and averaged 64.

Joe Root averaged 31 in his last 21 home Tests (with just one century) before coming to India last summer. Since then, in his seven home Tests, he has scored 960 runs at an average of 96, and was on an unassailable course for a sixth century in those seven matches until Bairstow’s series-ending barrage on Monday.

Kohli’s ability to emerge from his long-term statistical slumber in this awkward series decider 10 months late could define whether his now-ending captaincy last summer turns out to be one of the great victories of his career.

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