Indian batting woes symptomatic of Kohli’s dire lull

You can’t keep a good player down for too long, the old cricketing adage goes. However, the wait for big runs is now bordering towards the unbearable for Virat Kohli. The Indian skipper, who once had a voracious appetite for hundreds, has now gone fifty innings in international cricket without one. His last Test century came in 2019 against Bangladesh in the pink-ball affair at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The closest he’s been to three figures ever since is 74 against Australia in Adelaide in December 2020, when his deputy Ajinkya Rahane sold him down the river.

It was arch-nemesis James Anderson who got the better of him for the ninth time as Kohli, unable to scratch his itch to drive, went after a tempter only to feather an edge behind to Jos Buttler. He shares the coveted record of dismissing Kohli on most occasions with Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon. The run-machine of yore has been guilty of chasing wide deliveries that should be left alone for good, while induckers jagging in late have also had him waist-deep into trouble. Kohli has so far looked a pale shadow of his former self that conquered the green pastures of England on the 2018 tour, having to contend with pedestrian scores of 0, 42, 20 and 7 this time around.

To say that a lot rides on Kohli with regards to how India fares overseas and on home turf is a gross understatement. The world-class virtuoso needs to reclaim lost ground sooner than later if India are keen on bringing the World Test Championship trophy to their cabinet.