What goes up must always come down. This is true in sport, as well as in life. And that is why, a man who looked as if he was invincible, a man who thwarted every challenge thrown at him, a man who was scoring centuries for fun is now experiencing a lean patch by his exalted standards.
In fact, Virat Kohli had been on such a run scoring spree, that his excellence became mundane, sort of boring. Kohli seems to be slowly showing his human side to us now.
Let us dive deep
From the beginning of 2017 till India’s tour of the West Indies in 2019, Kohli was the monarch of all that he surveyed. The batting maestro plundered 3950 runs in the space of just two and half years. In this time period, Kohli scored a whopping 17 hundreds in ODI cricket, and almost seemed like an alien.
In fact in the year 2018, he averaged 133.56 and crossed the fifty mark in nine out of the 14 innings that he played.
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The fall in form
From the completion of India’s tour of the West Indies till now, Kohli has played a further nine ODI innings, and has not scored a single hundred. He has scored 347 runs in this period of six months, at an average of 38.55, almost 22 runs below his career average. Out of the nine innings, he has been dismissed below a score of 20 on five of those occasions. Also, this is the first time since the 2013 Champions Trophy that Kohli has gone three consecutive ODI series without adding to his century tally.
The sound of timber
Let us delve deep even further and analyse the manner of his dismissals. Out of his last nine innings, he has been dismissed by getting bowled on five occasions. Kohli also created an unwanted record for himself in the second ODI against New Zealand. When the master batsman was out bowled off Tim Southee in the second ODI. It was the first occasion in his 12 year long career that he was bowled on three consecutive occasions in ODI cricket.
He is not alone….
Kohli’s case is definitely not an isolated one when it comes to this dip in form. Sachin Tendulkar had to wait for 370 days to go from ninety-nine to hundred international hundreds. It was a wait that was devilish, a wait that showed the mortal side of an immortal icon. Even the incomparable Don Bradman departed for a duck in his last Test innings, when all that he needed to score was a solitary boundary to end his career with a three figure average.
In the End….
Every sportsman experiences peaks and troughs in his career. Kohli has raised the standard for excellence extremely high, that when nine ODIs pass without him adding to his century tally, we press the panic button. Kohli is a champion batsman who is mentally strong enough to arrest this mild decline in form. He is only 31 years old, and has plenty of cricket left in him. And now, as we experience the human side of Kohli, it will indeed be fascinating to watch how he resurrects himself from here.
Published 12 Feb 2020, 15:00 IST