Ace batter Virat Kohli is well into his redemption arc, scoring hundreds nonchalantly and dominating the opposition bowlers. Since the 2022 Asia Cup, the Delhi-born player has turned a corner for the good and has almost made people forget about his prolonged lean patch.
He dominated the T20 circuit during the buildup to the T20 World Cup 2022 and even had a tournament to remember in Australia. He then translated his form onto the ODI format, ending an agonizing three-year century drought, and has been unstoppable ever since.
Following the end of the series against Sri Lanka, Kohli has scored three centuries across his last four ODI appearances. The slew of centuries closes down the gap to Sachin Tendulkar's elusive 49 ODI hundred record to just three.
The timing of Kohli's purple patch arguably could not have come at a better time as Team India head into a set of crucial fixtures as well as the 2023 ODI World Cup on home soil to close out the year.
The first challenge that awaits Kohli's form is in the form of a visiting Australian side that could do no wrong at the moment. The Pat Cummins-led team are ranked atop the World Test Championship (WTC). India will have to etch out a series win over their rivals to claim a spot in the final for the second time in succession.
Here are three reasons why the former skipper could go on to dominate Australia in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
#1 Very much capable of translating his white-ball form into red-ball cricket
The only slump since Kohli's return has been his performance in the two-match Test series against Bangladesh. He scored 45 runs across four innings in subcontinent conditions. Out of the three instances where he was dismissed, two came against spin.
Australia are also heading into the subcontinent with a hoard of spinners, which includes the uncapped Todd Murphy.
However, it is well known that the in-form batter can translate his white-ball form onto Test cricket as well. His purple patch in ODIs should definitely give him the confidence to tackle the rampant Aussies. The veteran batter is well-versed in making the transition across formats, taking the conditions and the opposition into account as well.
Additionally, a home series might be just what he needs to find his groove again in the longest format. However, fellow batter Ajinkya Rahane has blamed the nature of the Indian pitches for the fall of the middle-order batters from grace, which includes Kohli.
#2 Kohli has a stellar record against Australia
Kohli's record against Australia is pretty well-documented. From his maiden Test ton in Adelaide to a spectacular effort as captain on the subsequent tour, the Aussies do have a special place in the ace batter's heart.
In 36 Test innings against the Aussies, the former skipper has amassed 1682 runs at an average of 48.06. While he compiled a string of poor scores during Australia's last trip to India, there is a lot to be optimistic about this time around.
The competitive spirit of the Australians is also bound to spruce up the former Indian skipper. Renewed rivalries with Steve Smith, David Warner, and Mitchell Starc could all be on show once again, but the Australians know better than to provoke the star batter, with the previous instances not having gone well for them.
#3 The stakes are high as they can be
The best brings out the best in players at times and the upcoming Tests against Australia could prove to be just that for Kohli. As steep as the challenges come, this is no ordinary rubber series by any means.
It is entirely a do-or-die situation, where the Men in Blue have to churn out a positive result to seal their place in the World Test Championship final. Kohli has been a player who has delivered under pressure and India's WTC future may very well hinge on how he performs across the four matches.
The prospect of another ICC trophy in sight, one to celebrate the format that the Delhi-born player just adores, should bring out the best in him. A knockout of sorts, Kohli will very much wish to be in the thick of things on the field, take on the Australian bowlers and gain another feather in his cap.
Will the ace batter have a campaign to remember against a potent Australia at home? Let us know what you think.
Also Read: 3 players who were unfortunate to miss out in India's squad for first 2 Tests vs Australia
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