AFP
AFP

Cricket is a ruthless game; it demands immense dedication and hard work. The hike to the top is difficult but to sustain it, is where the true test lies. When a cricketer shots to limelight; fans, critics and the pundits start gauging him on different scales. A scale which is different than others, a scale which makes him a star, a scale which will one day transform him into a legend if he survives it. Virat Kohli is certainly in that bracket but his inconsistency in whites is not helping his reputation in any way. He has shouldered the responsibility of a skipper to perfection but his willow has been silent in the recent times.

India s Test skipper, Kohli is considered one of the fantastic four batsmen in contemporary cricket. His prowess in the shorter formats in unquestionable and there is not match to his form at the moment. However, the 27-year-old has not been able to inspire similar confidence in whites. In fact, he has had a dry run since his double ton in West Indies in the previous tour. Kohli is not doing any good to the Indian side and has to step up; a player of his calibre cannot afford to live on reputation and has to lead with example. His success with the bat will bolster his team s confidence and have a good impact on his captaincy.

Kohli has been unstoppable against the white ball and heaped runs across formats. He has undoubtedly been the reason behind nightmares for many bowlers and haunted them with his manic approach and impeccable consistency. But the paranormal steadiness goes for a toss as soon as Kohli dons whites. It s not for the lack of technique but temperament. Kohli puts a huge prize on his wicket and in any format his early dismissal is not less than a boon for the opposition. Also read: All-round India wrestle back control against Kiwis at Kanpur

Kohli’s amazing run started in January against Australia. When India were in deep trouble in the high-voltage encounter against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, it was Kohli who bailed them out of trouble on a doctored pitch. The whole Pakistan team knew there was just one man standing like a wall between them and victory, that man was Virat Kohli . He continued his dream form in the ICC World T20, where he was in some other form in the knock out stages and the awe-inspiring knock against Australia left everyone speechless. He was awarded the Player of the Tournament. Also read: Watch how a flaming Ashwin guns down determined Williamson

Kohli hogged all the headlines with his fearless stroke play and consistency as good as sunrise and sunset in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Bowlers ran out of options and every plan to assassinate him early failed, he mastered it all. Writers were running out of words, newspapers were flooded with praises on him; such was the form of Kohli. Many almost termed him as a superhuman or an alien from another planet with some supernatural powers. Whatever he touched turned into gold, it was his Midas touch with the ball. The anomaly is best explained when one looks at the table: Also read – 500th Test special: India s 35 most memorable Test wins (Part 1 of 3)

Since the start of 2016, Kohli in T20s

Matches Runs Strike rate Ave HS 100s
31 1614 147.12 89.66 113 4

 

While in T20Is

Matches Runs Strike rate Ave HS 100s
15 641 140.26 106.83 90* 0

Speaking about One-Day International (ODI) cricket, Kohli has been impactful and averages above 62 in last 10 games. More than that, he has been consistent in every outing; the team knows, his fans know, as long as Kohli is out there, India have all the chances to win. He is a warrior and it won t be wrong to reckon him as one man army against the white ball. Also read: When will Guptill justify his spot in Tests?

Kohli in last 10 ODIs

Matches Runs Strike rate Ave HS 100s
10 626 94.13 62.60 138 3

Coming back to Test cricket, the red ball cricket is completely different to that with the white one. Batting is much tougher and hardly any room for error. It demands temperament, which Kohli has but has failed to showcase it. When India toured West Indies, all eyes were set on Kohli as he has been in an insane form in the recent times. He stood to everyone s expectations, when he smashed a double ton at North Sound, but what after that? His scores after the 200run landmark read 44, 3, 4, 16, 9 and 18. This definitely doesn t portray the ability of Kohli in whites; there is neither technical flaw nor any temperamental issues. If he can score 200 and get back-to-back centuries Down Under, he can indeed do it on a unswerving basis.

The ongoing Test series against New Zealand at Kanpur saw Kohli gifting his wicket away on both the occasions. In the first innings, India were well placed at 167 for t3 when Kohli tried to take on Neil Wagner and threw his wicket in the hands of Ish Sodhi. Wagner was testing him with short pitched stuff and Kohli was too new to pull it to perfection. He accepted the challenge, which was valiant but failed with the execution. He floundered for nine and while walking back a thought of letting that delivery go would have surely spring his mind. Also Read: Ravichandran Ashwin scripts history by scalping 200 Test wickets: Twitter reaction

In the second innings, Kohli was dismissed on 18, he never looked uncomfortable, in fact, he got the ball rolling right from the outset at Kanpur. He once again threw his wicket away while eyeing for a boundary, he was being too aggressive. He top-edged a delivery from Mitchell Santner and impatience once again pulled curtains over his innings.

Well, if he works on this, the time is not very far when Kohli will be ruling the Test charts like he does in the shorter formats. He is at the prime of his form and this is the best time for him to work on it and garner runs to his name, which will help India as well. He is a man who loves to lead with example and has shown sheer mettle with the captain s hat on. As of now, his captaincy has been unhindered but this won t continue for long.

(Suraj Choudhari is a reporter with Criclife and CricketCountry. He is an avid follower of the game, and plays the sport at club level. He has a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, and tries to express it through paper and pen.)