Indian skipper Virat Kohli
Indian skipper Virat Kohli returns to the pavillion after being dismissed during the first T20 vs England, at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, on Friday. Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: Virat Kohli who had been scoring prolifically for Team India in all three formats of the game for almost a decade seems to be going through a lean patch of late.

The run machine who has scored tons of runs for India has scored three ducks in his last five innings, which includes back-to-back zeroes, that to date had never happened in his whole career.

King Kohli who has scored 70 hundreds in international cricket has not scored one since the beginning of 2020. And the player who used to score tons with ease is now struggling to find form. Every player goes through such lean patches in their career and is not that Kohli has not scored runs in 2020 and this year too but the high standards he has set all along, makes fans restless as to when is the next century coming.

One thing which I could observe is that Kohli is trying to hit the ball too hard than times it. He is trying to reach for the ball and force it away than waits for it to come.

He has scored almost 22,000 runs in all formats with an average of above 50 in all. But only after yesterday’s duck his average in T20 dropped to below 50 and he still has a staggering average of 49.62 runs with a strike rate of 138 after 86 T20I matches which no player is even close to it.

All above runs for Kohli has come at a decent strike rate as he is one player who gets off the block quickly by rotating the strike, especially in the white ball cricket. He has been called as the chase master and has won India many games in the white ball format single handedly.

Now the point what I am trying to get to is that Virat has played all these spectacular innings by pacing his innings properly than going berserk from ball one. The range of shots he has and the way he runs between the wickets has been instrumental in his success. But whenever he tries to get ahead of the game, he ends up playing a false stroke or an airy shot which leads to his down fall.

Before the start of the England T20 series, Virat had spoken about embracing a batting philosophy that veered from the path they had traditionally gone on. That is to play aggressive cricket as now they have more depth in the batting.

Nothing wrong in it, but India has enough players with high calibre such as Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Pant, Pandya, Ishan Kishan, SuryaKumar, if they are given a chance. But Kohli is the lynchpin of Indian batting and the opposition feels a snip of opportunity the moment they see his back more often than not. Even the dressing room feels secured and safe as long as he is on the crease as he can change gears when required at the business end of the game, especially in the shortest format.

All these runs Kohli has scored in the white-ball format with smart batting and anchoring India’s innings which has led to many Indian wins and I feel no reason he needs to change his style as India has tasted success more often than not when he has stayed till the end to see the team home.

Now coming to his captaincy in the shortest format, there is definitely a chink which was evident even on Friday like not making Washington Sundar bowl in the power play which has been his strength. And if you had to argue that he had got Axar Patel to bowl in the power play along with Chahal but then Washington has a proven record of bowling well in the power play and then why would you not stick to it?

As long as MS Dhoni was around, Virat was shielded well in the shortest format as Dhoni used to take care of the finer points of setting the field and advising Virat of the bowling changes.

Virat does not have a title for his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore even after leading them for eight years and mind you they have come in the bottom twice in the last three seasons. All these facts do point out that he has not been able to get the best out his players to get a trophy in his cabinet.

And sadly except winning the Under-19 World Cup, Kohli still has not got his hands on the ICC-organised tournament, being it the Champions Trophy where he lost to Pakistan in the finals or the ICC World Cup having lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals.

With the ICC T20 World Cup just six months away and India as host are one of the favorites to win along with England, all eyes will be on Virat. Can he get his hands on the elusive trophy which has eluded him from the time he has taken over India’s white-ball captaincy? Your guess is as good as mine.