Team India head coach Rahul Dravid has backed Virat Kohli to come good soon despite the latter's wretched run across formats over the last couple of seasons. According to Dravid, the key to Kohli's situation is not about whether he can score a hundred but about how significant his contribution is to the team’s cause.
The 33-year-old has not scored an international century since crossing triple figures during the day-night Test against Bangladesh back in November of 2019. Virat Kohli had a poor IPL 2022 season as well, during which he registered three golden ducks.
The former India captain was subsequently rested for the five-match T20I series against South Africa at home. With KL Rahul being ruled out of the Birmingham Test against England and uncertainty over Rohit Sharma’s availability after he tested positive for COVID, Kohli could be key to India’s batting.
Backing the under-fire batter, coach Dravid said at a pre-match press conference:
“As a player, you go through these kinds of phases. I don’t think in Virat’s case, it is a lack of motivation or desire. It’s not about scoring three figures, even a 70 on a difficult pitch is worth appreciation. In Cape Town, he didn’t convert it into a century, but it was a good score.”
Dravid, a former India captain himself, added:
“Going by the standards he has set for himself, people only see hundreds as a success. But from a coach’s perspective, we want contributions from him, whether it’s a 50 or a 60.”
Virat Kohli led India during the Test series in South Africa at the start of the year. He played in two of the three Tests, scoring 161 runs at an average of 40.25.
Having given up the captaincy, Kohli turned out as a pure batter in the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka at home. However, he had a poor series, scoring 81 runs at an average of 27.
Kohli scored 33 and 67 in the four-day warm-up match against Leicestershire, which concluded recently. Pointing to the same and praising the experienced batter’s work ethic, Dravid asserted that Kohli’s preparations are very much in order. He stated:
“He’s not on the wrong side of his 30s. He’s an incredibly fit guy, and one of the most hard-working guys I’ve come across. His desire, his hunger and his whole attitude, looking after himself and his preparations, even the way he batted in Leicester in those conditions, scoring the kind of 50s and 60s. He is ticking all the right boxes, he is doing what he needs to do."
The rescheduled Test between India and England will start at Edgbaston in Birmingham on July 1.