Why Virat Kohli’s batting declined, explains the legend who adores him
Former India cricket team skipper Sourav Ganguly believes an ultra-competitive approach by Virat Kohli against Australia cricket team led to his batting dip
Former India cricket team skipper Sourav Ganguly feels the captain in Virat Kohli, desperate to win the Test series against Australia cricket team, let his emotions slip and that affected his batting.
In a column written for the International Cricket Council, Ganguly said: “Against Australia, probably he (Virat) was so consumed by wanting to win as captain that he let his emotions affect his batting.”
Virat Kohli, having been prolific with the bat for the preceding 12 months, scoring four double centuries in four series in a row, flopped with the bat against Australia, although India came back to win the series 2-1.
In three Tests against Australia, Virat Kohli aggregated just 46 runs in five innings. His highest score was 15. His series average was a measly 9.20 as the India’s best batsman as he hit below 10 for the first time in his career.
Since his debut, in 16 series of two or more Tests preceding the Australia series, Virat had done this poorly only twice. On debut in the West Indies in 2011, he averaged 15.20. And in the 2014 series in England, he managed just 13.40 across five Tests.
Ganguly wrote: “This will also serve as a lesson for Virat. He’s such a precocious talent, I hope he cools down and gets back to scoring big again.”
After losing the first Test in Pune, Virat, who is usually very animated on the field, became even more aggressive.
Australian players and the country’s media too kept targeting him and that Virat was getting affected became increasingly evident as the intensity and vigour kept rising while celebrating the fall of every Aussie wicket.
That meant every time he stepped out to bat, he wanted to dominate. In the process, he reached out twice in five innings to deliveries early in his innings, which under different circumstances he would have left alone. And edges were inevitable. He fell leg before twice, and was bowled on the other occasion shouldering arms to left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe.
Ganguly has no doubt about what Virat is capable of achieving as a batsman. He hoped with the standard Virat sets for himself, he would be back in form in no time. “The batsman (Virat) surely is one of the best in the world because he has set high standards for himself, both in terms of fitness and the hunger to score big.”
The failure belied the form he carried into the series, having slammed 204 in the one-off Test against Bangladesh, with a shoulder injury suffered in the third game in Ranchi preventing Virat from playing in the final match in Dharamsala and making amends for the blip earlier in the series.