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Kohli can stage a comeback, little knocks suggest

Former cricket captain Virat Kohli continues to middle the ball and time his shots perfectly; unfortunately, big scores have eluded him for the past two years

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Despite the statistics that Virat Kohli has not scored a century in more than two years, his overall scoring form has dropped and he continues to struggle to get big scores, he remains the best batsman for India even in the period for which he has been going down the slope.

But Kohli can no longer be described as ‘the only batsman with a 50-plus average across formats’ because his test average has plummeted below 50 (49.95 to be precise). But he continues to middle the ball and time his shots perfectly. Unfortunately, the big scores elude the batsman who at his peak was the most prolific batsman in international cricket.

Since his last century in any form of international or club cricket — counting the match on 23 November 2019) — Kohli is still the highest scorer for India in international cricket, with 2,478 overall runs at an average of 37.54 in 73 international innings.

Kohli ranks fourth in the list of highest run-getters during the said period, with the chart now showing Pakistan’s Babar Azam on top with 3,694 runs at the rate of 55.96 in 74 innings with 10 centuries.

Babar Azam68743,69419655.961027
Joe Root39623,08622854.14910
Mohd Rizwan72722,641115*47.16320
Virat Kohli63732,47894*37.54024
Rohit Sharma49602,36716141.52414
Top 5 international run-getters since Kohli’s last hundred on 23 November 2019

Kohli’s last hundred (70th international century) across both international and cricket was scored in November 2019, which is about two-and-a-half years ago. Since then, Kohli has played a total of 73 innings in tests, ODIs and T20Is without hitting a century. He almost ended that wait when he scored 94 not out against the West Indies in a T20I on 6 December 2019. That remains his best T20I score.

Before his last century, Kohli had 70 hundreds in 438 international innings, equivalent to scoring a hundred every 6.3 games. The figures now read a hundred in every 7.3 games, which is an eyesore of a dip in a long career.

He scored the last of his five hundreds in April 2019. This means he scored no century in the last two seasons or in the ongoing 15th edition of the league so far. Nothing seems to be working for him even after stepping down as captain to focus on his batting.

Many had welcomed Kohli’s decision to leave captaincy, thinking of the decline in his batting performances, but that hardly helped.

Kohli’s international career after relinquishing captaincy

As for tests, Kohli quit captaincy after the Indian team lost 1-2 to in January. Ever since, he has played two tests. In the three innings that he has played since, he has scored 81 runs with an average of 27.00 and the highest score of 45 off 76 against Sri Lanka in Mohali.

In ODIs, Rohit Sharma replaced Kohli as captain in December 2021. Since then, Kohli has played six ODIs, three each against and West Indies, and scored 142 runs with a mean of 23.67. He has hit two 50s, with the highest score of 65 off 84 balls against South Africa in Cape Town. And he also got out for a duck in two matches.

In T20Is, Kohli had announced in September 2021 that he would give up captaincy after the T20 World Cup in November last. Since then, he has played two T20Is against West Indies and scored a total of 69 runs with one half-century — 52 off 41 in Kolkata.

Kohli has played 11 international innings without carrying the burden of captaincy so far, with the highest score of 65 versus South Africa in Cape Town. The period is too short to draw an inference on his performance after giving up the captaincy, but whatever little cricket he has played just as a batsman, it has been underwhelming.

Kohli can stage a comeback, little knocks suggest [internal image]

Kohli in international cricket after leaving captaincy

To study Kohli as a batsman in 2022, one must note that he is playing merely as a senior batsman for the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad this season under the leadership of South African Faf du Plessis. The team is doing well so far, securing the third position in the standings with 8 points from 6 games (before the KKR vs RR match on 18 April). But Kohli, the batsman, has not yet hit a match-defining big knock. This from the highest run-scorer in the history of the IPL! This from the only batsman with more than 6,000 runs in the tournament’s history!

Kohli started the 2022 season with a good batting performance, scoring an unbeaten 41 off 29 balls to help RCB post a massive 205/2. But the franchise lost the to Punjab Kings by 5 wickets. A series of low scores followed: 12 versus Kolkata Knight Riders and 5 versus before he shone with a 48 off 36 in a successful chase against Mumbai Indians. That is as yet the best knock from Kohli so far in the season, as two other small scores followed after that: 1 against Chennai Super Kings and 12 vs Delhi Capitals.

Kohli without captaincy is still struggling to come up with big scores this season.

Virat Kohli’s 2022 season so far

Kohli still looks confident. The few strokes he makes, he gets them all right. As a fielder, his shoulders do not droop, which makes fans optimistic about his comeback with a mammoth score again.

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