Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli hasn’t quite hit the heights of late in international cricket. The 32-year-old batsman has looked short in Test cricket, in particular, failing to score a single hundred since the Day-Night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens. Kohli was dismissed off the first ball he faced in the recently concluded first Test against England which ended in a draw. Prior to that in the ICC World Test Championship final, Kohli was dismissed for 44 and 13 as India faltered with the bat in Southampton.
If India are to do well in the WTC second cycle, Kohli needs to come out and lead the side from the front as India’s middle-order looks a bit subdued and unsure away from home. Kohli has amassed 7,547 runs at 51.69 with his average dropping considerably after the D/N Test against Bangladesh. He has registered 27 centuries and 25 fifties so far. Despite these notable numbers, Kohli has fallen a rung below what’s expected of him.
Kohli, who has been a leader with the bat in ODI cricket, hasn’t fired a single century in 15 innings. He has got four single-digit scores. However, his impact in ODI cricket has been better than in Test cricket. During these 15 innings, Kohli has mustered eight fifties.
Here we present the reasons why Kohli has been struggling in international cricket.
A lean phase has got the better of Kohli
It looks like the 32-year-old batter has not managed to come out from the lean phase that has been bothering him for a while now. Since the historical D/N Test in Kolkata, Kohli has featured in 15 Test innings. His scores in these 15 innings have been 2, 19, 3, 14, 74, 4, 11, 72, 0, 62, 27, 44, 13, and 0. Five scores have been under 10 which shows that he has been getting dismissed early in his innings. There have been two ducks as well. Kohli hasn’t suffered such a phase for this long where he has managed just two fifties, having featured in 15 or more innings. He has been troubled in New Zealand, Australia, and England. At home as well he couldn’t quite get going against England earlier this year.
Lapse of concentration is a reason
Kohli has suffered from a lapse in concentration, often playing deliveries that should have been left alone. In New Zealand, he looked to go at fullish deliveries on the drive to throw his wicket away. He was also hurried on by the short delivery. Kohli was also dismissed by deliveries that swung in late, beating his inside edge and trapping him LBW. In Australia, Kohli was guilty of chasing a wides ball outside the off stump, looking to attack when India were bowled out for 36 in Adelaide. Kohli has often played with hard hands leading the ball to find the fielder. Deliveries that have risen with bounce, shaping away have got Kohli into trouble.
Bowlers have identified the channel
Bowling in the right channel and being patient can get you rewards and bowlers have done this well of late against Kohli. Kyle Jamieson has hit the deck hard and with conditions assisting swing, Kohli looked unsure. Bowlers have gone in and around the off-channel around the fourth and fifth stump area to target Kohli on the drive. Besides, Kohli has often seen a gap between his bat and the body that has hurt him in leading to quick dismissals. Kohli needs to work in these areas to defy the bowlers as the channel is hurting him at the moment.
Loose shots have cost Kohli his wicket
When you look at Joe Root and Kane Williamson, they often look very assured in their ability to play the right shots. Kohli has been tempted often to go at balls that should be left alone or played a bit late to get the timing right. Kohli has fallen prey to shots that are quicker than what’s needed, resulting in him finding the keeper or the slip cordon. In order to bat long and get the scorecard ticking, shot-making is crucial and chasing wide deliveries are a big no. This is something that has been an issue with the Indian skipper. Time and time again, the right-handed batter has been dismissed chasing the side ball.
Kohli’s troubles against spin is a factor as well
Kohli has faced issues against spin as well which isn’t just limited to Test cricket. In ODIs as well, the star batter has been troubled by deliveries that spun in. Be it finger spin or leg spinners, Kohli has been facing issues. Kohli, in particular, has been poor against spinners in white-ball cricket. It has become more like a pattern. Kohli’s drive against spinners has been problematic, as he is often early and that has either led to big gaps or leading the ball to find the fielder after the ball gets elevated. Over aggression at times is not what Kohli needs and that has contributed to his dismissals.