Virat Kohli may feel a lot more comfortable after his recent knock against Middlesex © Getty Images (File Photo)
Virat Kohli scored an invaluable 71 in India’s 95-run win against Middlesex in the tour game preceding India’s five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against England scheduled to begin on August 25. Shiamak Unwalla looks at how the knock could turn things around for Virat Kohli and India.
Cricket is a team game. It always has been, and it always will be. That being said, there are some players whose fortunes are inextricably linked with that of the team. The form of Yuvraj Singh is almost always in direct proportion to that of the Indian team. How Dale Steyn performs invariably dictates how well South Africa does. The West Indies tend to look like a much better team when Chris Gayle fires on all cylinders. Virat Kohli is another player whose well-being generally mirrors that of his team.
In the recently-concluded Test series that India managed to lose, Kohli was in terrible form. It was the first extended run of low scores he has suffered since he made his debut in 2008. One can say that Kohli’s failure was a big factor in India’s downfall during the summer. But a Kohli in form is always going to boost India, and his knock against Middlesex might just be the turning point of this tour.
Kohli is someone who is supremely confident in his abilities; a confidence that was notable in its absence in the Test series. With this fifty, the old swagger that is almost a trademark of Kohli’s will be back, and that is not good news for England.
Unlike in Tests where Kohli is perhaps not India’s main batsman, their ODI batting depends heavily on him to provide a good base on which the other batsmen can build. In the 134 games he has played so far, Kohli has scored 5,634 runs at a staggering 52.16 with 19 tons, 30 fifties and a strike rate of 89.87 — tremendous figures by any measure.
In all likelihood, Kohli will take this momentum further in the ODI series. He will be smarting after the Test series debacle, and the ODIs will give him a shot at redemption. If he manages to find his touch, India could well avenge their Test defeat and win their first overseas bilateral ODI series in a surprisingly long time.
Catch all the coverage of India’s tour to England here
(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)