Virat Kohli won’t trade places with anyone else, irrespective of how hard it may be at times to be him and to live up to expectations. The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 is slowly unravelling as a nightmare for both Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and their former skipper. With the number of opportunities to recover reducing with every match, RCB look to be in deep trouble and Virat Kohli is finding it tough to return to any semblance of form. Quite an unsavoury scenario for both man and team, as fans and experts scratch their heads trying to find out what has gone wrong with their ace.

It is not always that you see Kohli averaging 16.00 in any event, not least something the length of IPL 2022. With eight matches gone for RCB, Kohli has scored 128 runs and has a strike rate of less than 120.

It has come to such a pass that fans hold their breath as he takes stance. Two first-ball from among the last three innings is as close to a disaster that he could be.

One assumed that the change in batting slot (going up to opening) against Rajasthan Royals (RR) could work better. Well, he negotiated the first ball, then the duck. But again, a forcing shot off Prasidh Krishna left him short of double figures and a strike rate of 90.00.

Not easy being Virat Kohli, is it? With the hopes of the franchise and the supporters all pinned on him, this is becoming quite the test for the former India captain.

Being Virat, he is not one to step back and accept that some things more powerful than him may be at work, He will take it all head-on, and that is what he tried to do against RR.

Two boundaries came, and people started breathing a little easy, but then, almost inevitably, things fell apart.

It surely is not all about technique. Kohli’s mind is working overtime as he tries to cope with the burgeoning pressure of expectation, both mass and self.

It is never easy for a superstar to acknowledge that things aren’t as great as they used to be. It seems like success and redemption are one inning away, and the star strives to return to that high again before even contemplating stepping back and taking a break.

But the noise has started increasing and the questions are becoming more strident. Is it time to take a break? Is it time to step back and re-focus? After all, we have a T20 World Cup this year and it would be inconceivable to go in without Kohli.

Easier said than done, especially when your own being is challenging your status and reputation. Virat Kohli has one big struggle ahead of him, and it is not getting any easier.

(This story was first published on india.com)