Dubai: Virat Kohli’s run of poor scores in the last six months has become a national debate with ex-cricketers, media, fans asking him to be dropped.
There was a time when fans were asking when his next hundred will come as it’s been more than two and half years since Kohli last scored a hundred, in 2019 against Bangladesh.
However, a lot has changed after he decided to step down as captain of the Indian Twenty20 team after last year’s World Cup. He was axed as One Day International (ODI) skipper as according to Sourav Ganguly it was too much of a burden for Kohli, who could focus on Tests. This obviously did not go well with Kohli who decided to step down from the Test captaincy too after the South Africa series. Till then no fan or any ex-cricketer ever spoke about his form. The only point, which was discussed, was his century drought as he was getting runs in both Tests and ODI. He played two Tests against Sri Lanka where he got three innings and his highest score was 45.
But in the last Test against England he failed in both the innings and was found wanting outside the off-stump. His run of low scores continued in the T20 series where he had scores of 1 and 3 and in the second ODI against England, Kohli managed just 16 and India lost the game badly.
If Ashwin can be dropped, why not Kohli?
Kapil Dev, India’s first World Cup-winning captain, said: “If Ashwin can be dropped, why not Virat Kohli if he is not performing.”
Ganguly says Kohli has to find his way to score runs again.
When Kohli decided to rest for the West Indies Tour, it was not well-accepted by Sunil Gavaskar, who said when players can play Indian Premier League (IPL) why they want rest for international tours? Ashish Nehra, who worked with Kohli, said a break will help him come back fresh. Similarly, Ravi Shastri too said Kohli has been playing all formats for a long time and needs a well-deserved long break to be back to his best.
This too shall pass
Even international players have joined the debate. Pakistan skipper Babar Azam posted on Twitter: “This too shall pass. Stay strong. #ViratKohli.” So did Jos Buttler, the new England captain, who questioned the media after the match on Thursday, “How can you discuss of dropping Virat Kohli, who has done so much for team India.”
For Kohli, the biggest support came from his captain Rohit Sharma. When asked by a reporter about Kohli’s form, he got bemused and said: “Why is this question asked again and again? Virat Kohli has scored so many runs in the past and every player has dip in form. This is part and parcel of the game. A player like Virat needs one innings to get going and needs to be left alone.” This is the second time Sharma has backed Kohli in two weeks’ time and the team management has a lot of faith in him.
There was a time when King Kohli was the boss of Indian team and captained in all formats and his decision was final. No one would have even dreamt that the King’s place in the team would be questioned! Should be dropped? I shall leave it to the readers to decide.