Opinion: It is merely a slight dip from the peak for Virat Kohli
- An article about Virat Kohli's recent form in ODI cricket, and how it's being blown out of proportion
August 18, 2008.
Nearly 12 years ago, a chubby teenager who had just led the Indian U-19 team to a World Cup win, made his debut for the senior team in an ODI against Sri Lanka. While everybody knew that this kid was going to make it big, not many would've guessed that he would go on to change the way the game is played, a chase is made. After having a no-nonsense start to his career, he had shown everyone that he was here to stay.
His first ODI century took some time, as it came only towards the end of 2009 against the Sri Lankans in Eden Gardens. However, the second one came within the next 3 weeks as the Men In Blue took on Bangladesh at Dhaka. Over the next 10 years, the angry young man from Delhi would go on a rampage and break one record after the other, and eventually be sitting pretty on 43 centuries and an average of nearly 60 in One Day International cricket. Not just that, Virat Kohli has also established himself as one of the ambassadors for fitness in Indian sport and is one of the fittest athletes in the country as well as international cricket. The hard work that he puts in off the field has seen his transition from the chubby boy who couldn't go a week without butter chicken, to the lean mean run machine who practices a strict vegan diet and has better stamina than most cricketers in the game.
Also see – PSL schedule
For years, everyone, be it fans, cricketing experts or past players, have been asking the question, "When will the upward spiral in Kohli's graph stop?" And for many of them, the belief is that the time is now.
In the 6 ODI innings in 2020 that Virat Kohli has batted in (including the dismal NZ tour), he has managed to score 258 runs while maintaining an average of 43. Normally, this would be considered a healthy average for a batsman who bats at number 3, no matter which team we're talking about.
The problem, however, arises given the fact that the best batsman in ODI cricket has stopped getting to triple figures. This comes as a contrast to the blockbuster year that he had in 2018, scoring 1,202 runs with 6 centuries, at a staggering average of 133.6.
Many even feel that this "slump" in his ODI form is due to his increasing age.The culprit of these assumptions have to be none other than Kohli's stats themselves. If numbers are anything to go by, the 31-year-old has 43 ODI centuries in 239 innings. That's supposed to be roughly 2 centuries in every 11 innings that he plays! His last century, i.e. ODI century number 43 came over half a year ago against the West Indies on their home soil.
While this is certainly astonishing given the unwavering consistency exhibited over the years, all it does is prove that the India and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper is human after all. Moreover, an average of around 40 in the last 10 innings isn't bad.
With the upcoming ODI series against South Africa, the IPL and of course the World T20, we can surely say that the Indian cricketers are in for a lot of limited overs cricket, and the captain would surely be looking to get back to being the Virat Kohli that we've seen over the years.
Published 01 Mar 2020, 17:49 IST