No Century in 20 Innings: Batsman Virat Kohli Under Fire in NZ
The way things panned out in Wellington on Monday, 24 February, it looks like more than skipper Virat Kohli, the world is falling apart for batsman Virat Kohli.
New Zealand has been one rare overseas tour in recent times when Kohli hasn’t been live up to his high standards, scoring only one half-century so far in nine innings across three formats.
In the absence of senior batsman Rohit Sharma. Kohli was expected to play a big role in this Test. But not only in this match where he failed to get past 20 in either of the innings, has he been clearly struggling on the tour.
His sequence of scores read 45, 11, 38, 11 (T20s); 51, 15, 9 (ODIs) and 2 and 19 (1st Test).
But Kohli’s problems don’t end here. For the first time since 2017, the skipper hasn’t scored a century for 20 innings across formats. His last three-figure score came against Bangladesh in the landmark pink-ball Test in Kolkata in November 2019.
But this is not the first time that the master batsman has gone through a barren patch. In fact, Kohli’s worst runs with the bat came once in 2014 and prior to that in 2011.
In his very first year of Test cricket, Virat Kohli spent 24 innings without scoring a century in any of the formats. During this time, he did manage to score to four fifties.
But his worst was yet to come. Three years later in 2014, the Indian skipper had to wait for 25 innings to reach a three-figure score.
Meanwhile, New Zealand has never been a happy hunting ground for the skipper. In the three Test matches he has played in the Island nation, Virat Kohli has just one hundred and one fifty from six innings.
But what is a bigger cause of worry for Kohli is his away performance in recent times. Someone who takes a lot of pride in performing well, it must be terribly disappointing to score just one hundred and that too in a losing cause in his last 17 away innings.
In fact, in the 17 away innings, he has failed to go past 25 on 7 occasions.
If we look at his numbers in the last two years, it paints a sorrier picture. His average is below 45 in the 12 Tests matches which is almost 10 runs below his career average.
His last six months in Test cricket has also not been up to the mark. He managed only two centuries from 12 innings. Despite maintaining an average of 61.00 from eight Test matches, the only reason Kohli is being pulled up is due to the superlative standard set by the batsman himself.
But the skipper feels that still there is no reason to press the panic button as far as his batting is concerned.
In fact, when asked about his form after the Wellington Test, Kohli was dismissive of any concern regarding his form.
"Look when you play so much cricket and you play for so long, obviously you will have three to four innings that don't go your way. If you try and make too much out of it, it'll keep piling on. I think it's about staying in a good space,” Kohli added.
The champion batsman that he is, one can only expect a comeback from him and what better than leading India to win in Christchurch. And he has already made his intentions clear.
"It's all about if the team wins, even a 40 is good. If the team loses, then even a 100 is irrelevant for me, and I'm going to stay in that mindset,” said Kohli.