Virat Kohli: Legend In The Making Or Misconstrued Fabrication?

Published 08/10/2014, 12:45 AM EDT


The last few months for Virat Kohli have been far from impressive. After the slump in form which was clearly visible in the IPL, the bad run has been on for him in the Test Match arena as well. Despite his prolific stroke play till this point, he hasn’t scored in critical situations lately and has been the reason for major collapses in the top order of the Indian line-up. He clearly has been the pick of the batsmen for India in the limited overs format and shown enough promise as a rising Test player with 6 centuries in the 25 tests that he has been a part of, but off late, things haven’t quite worked out the way he would’ve liked them to.

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Right from edging mainstream out-swingers from Anderson to leaving balls consistently moving into him from Plunkett, his woeful judgement of moving deliveries has been the cause of his failure in the ongoing England tour. But what is more worrying is the unsubstantial amount of time he has been spending at the crease. There have been times when India has required his presence at the crease like in the 2nd innings at Trent Bridge, but his demise made the lower order vulnerable to the hostile English bowling that followed. He must grind it out and work his way through to build the innings like Murali Vijay, who himself does not have the most compact technique, but has shown that grit combined with a cool head can lead to success.

Unlike what many Kohli fans think, bad luck has not been the cause of his failure.The tentative footwork and haphazard judgement depict the lack of form that he is going through. This is the time in a batsman’s life when minor changes in the field and ruthless tactics by the bowling department start becoming overwhelming and he tends to over-analyse and levy unnecessary pressure on himself. With carefully laid out plans by the English coaching staff, his susceptibility against the moving ball has been exposed and bowlers have fully exploited it until now. You can’t help but think that his constant habit of feeling the ball on his bat is going to get him into further trouble. This has been the major problem with sub-continent batsmen since time immemorial. He must realize that it doesn’t have to swing much to take the edge but just the slight lateral movement makes batsmen succumb.

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Many a time, Kohli gives us the impression that he is just too big for the game. Extravagant shots and unnecessary flashing outside the off-stump makes spectators very jittery at times, especially when the situation doesn’t demand it. The most important technique required in countries like England is that of leaving the ball, and Kohli has failed miserably in that department by repeatedly fending for deliveries outside his off-stump. We must understand that unlike the Virat Kohli in the sub-continent who can plunge onto the front foot and assault the bowler, here in England, survival can prove to be just as important. And soon enough, the bowlers will get bored of bowling outside the off and start bowling to his strength.

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While many people compare him to other stalwarts of the game like Sachin Tendulkar and Viv Richards, we must give him some time because he is nowhere near being as profusely accomplished yet. To become a legend, a lot more maturity is required and reckless cricket must become obsolete from his armoury.

When it comes to Kohli, this is the stage in his career where the aggressive attitude pays off and brings in the much needed positivity in approach.
With the talent that he is blessed with, he must realize that he is the central figure in this batting line-up, and must work towards improving himself even further. Uncalled-for decisions while batting are hurting him intensely. He has been the most successful batsman for India in limited overs cricket over the past few years, but here, in Test Cricket- the high grounds of the sport, talent alone doesn’t suffice. A strong temperament is the utmost requirement backed by sound adjudication.

It is high time that he regroups and reinvents himself to bring his ODI form into the longer format.

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Will he be the languid player with short stays at the crease, or will he return to be the impeccable batsman that we have always known him to be?

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Harit Pathak

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