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Following Virat Kohli‘s dismal run of form on India’s ongoing tour of England, Shiamak Unwalla writes a letter to the man who is widely regarded as India’s best batsman across formats.
Right from your early days in the One-Day International (ODI) side as a replacement for Yuvraj Singh, it was apparent that there were great things in store for you. There was a time when you would either get out early or go on to get at least a half-century in ODIs. But after the 2011 World Cup that you helped us win, it seemed like you really took off.
We wished you got a chance in the Test series in England three years ago, but the management chose to stick to a batting line-up that lost all four Test matches. And then you were the crowning glory of our Australian debacle. I admit, I was one of the people who thought maybe Test cricket was not for you after your first couple of failures. But then you proved everyone wrong at Perth, the fastest track in Australia, with a couple of terrific knocks.
Then came Adelaide, and you scored your maiden Test ton. We all knew that this was just the start of something wonderful, and you have kept your promise. In the ODI series that followed, you played one of the greatest knocks I have ever seen; you made no less a bowler than Lasith Malingayour absolute bunny. I was floored again.
You scored runs in South Africa and New Zealand with equal ease. We all finally thought our Test woes were finished. But you have not managed to score runs so far in this series against England. Do not worry.
This is the first time in your career that you have not succeeded over an extended period of time. That is okay. Every batsman goes through it. Sachin Tendulkar had; Rahul Dravid had; VVS Laxman had. But they bounced back. They were tough enough to weather the storm and bring India back from the brink on multiple occasions.
You too will. Despite the temporary failure, you have not looked out of touch. Some of the shots you have played this series have been quite attractive. You have got starts on a couple of occasions too. It is just that you have been a bit vulnerable outside your off stump. Did you have a word with the great technicians Sunil Gavaskar or Dravid who are there in England?
There have been suggestions that James Anderson has sized you up in a way that other bowlers have not managed to. It is true that Anderson has dismissed you quite frequently. But then, some of the most highly rated players have fallen to a bowler far more than you have. Mike Atherton struggled against Glenn McGrath. Ricky Ponting failed repeatedly against Ishant Sharma. Even your Delhi teammate Virender Sehwag found the going tough against Matthew Hoggard.
For now, the only thing you can do is keep your chin up and have faith that this is just a passing spell. You are a superior batsman than what you have seemed this series. I believe you will overcome the hiccups and go on to join the batting greats in the history of Test cricket. I don’t doubt that one bit.
To borrow a cliché, “Form is temporary; class is permanent.” And there is no doubting your class. I believe it won’t be long before you shut the mouths of your carping critics.
Best of luck, Virat!
(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)
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