New Zealand v India 2020: It's official, Virat Kohli is having a bad tour
- There was the 2014 nightmare when India toured England but this series has been equally bad for Kohli
It isn’t really news if the world talks about Virat Kohli. Irrespective of whether he does well or not, he’s constantly creating headlines.
However, this time, it is for his bat not doing the talking. There is talk around his batting which has not been the case for the last few years now. The Indian skipper is one who is always up for the challenge and is leading from the front. But this series against New Zealand has not been the same. It’s ending up as one of the worst in his career.
2 Test matches, 4 innings, 38 runs, lasting 95 balls at an average of 9.50.
Never before has the Indian skipper fared this badly in a Test series. This was the fourth instance of Kohli not aggregating over 100 runs in a Test series. In fact, 38 runs is the worst Test series aggregate for Kohli where he has played two or more innings. The series against Australia at home in 2017 is the second-worst in terms of runs (46 runs in five innings).
The average in that series was 9.20 which is his all-time lowest in a given Test series. But the average in this Test series against New Zealand is marginally better and is 9.50 which makes it the second-worst. These are the only two times Kohli has averaged under 10 in a Test series. Even in the dreaded 2014 England series, he averaged 13.40.
Moreover, this is the first time since June 2015 that the Delhi superstar hasn’t got a century in a multi-format tour/series against a particular side. He couldn’t get one in Bangladesh in 2015 but that was just four innings. Kohli hasn’t got a ton in 11 innings on this tour, extending his run without an international ton to 22 innings. Also, this is just the second instance of Kohli not getting a 20+ score in a Test series, the first one being against Australia at home.
“I am batting really well. I feel that sometimes scores don't reflect the way you are batting and that's what can happen when you don't execute what you want to well.”
Kohli had given this statement after he was questioned about his form at the end of the first Test match which India lost by 10 wickets. But there is no walking the talk, like is the case usually with the Indian captain.
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Kohli hasn’t executed or chosen his strokes well and the scores are very well reflecting his form. Moreover, Kohli got out to a new bowler every innings – it was Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Colin de Grandhomme in these four innings. It seemed like a clear plan for the Indian skipper. The Kiwis didn’t want to give him easy runs and contained and kept him quiet. Every bowler kept taking it across him and that was Plan A. However, with Kohli showing decent resolve outside the off-stump, the New Zealand bowlers changed plans quickly and that was the undoing of Kohli on almost every occasion.
In the first innings of the first Test, he was out pushing to a wide delivery and was caught at slip. But the next three innings were perfect set-ups. Bowlers kept dragging him away, away and further away before either nipping one back into him or bounce him. The pattern got quite predictable as well.
Every time he walked in, the New Zealand bowlers had a plan and they saw the back of him pretty soon every time. Every bowler had a clear plan, targeting the Indian skipper. Only once did Kohli manage to face more than 30 balls in this series which came when he got his highest score of 19. He has lasted a total of 95 balls in the entire series.
There's talk about the 2014 nightmare when India toured England but this series has been equally bad if not worse, only that, this is a shorter series. As many as 14 players from either side have scored more runs in this series than Kohli's 38. In fact, Trent Boult and Mohammed Shami have also scored more runs than Kohli in this Test series. That’s how horrid Kohli’s tour has been. In fact, all Kohli has managed on this tour is 218 runs on this tour and got a mere one fifty in 11 innings.
This is a tour and Test series, in particular, that Kohli will want to forget in a hurry. He's been India's talisman and one tour doesn't define him. He has carried the burden of the batting line-up almost single-handedly on numerous occasions but this may just be a rut which is taking a while for him to get out of. He'll be desperate to get back amongst the runs as soon as possible. But this New Zealand series will go down as one of the worst-ever in his international career.
Also see | New Zealand vs India, 2020: Three major concerns for Virat Kohli's side ahead of the second Test
Published 01 Mar 2020, 17:17 IST