New Delhi: Virat Kohli quit T20 captaincy, lost his One Day International (ODI) leadership, questioned BCCI’s way of functioning, and somehow managed to get away after a very bold press conference before hopping on the journey to the rainbow nation. Not because he is Kohli, the protagonist behind India’s resurgence in Test cricket but because BCCI thinks that he still has a lot left in him as a batter, and Tuesday was one such day.
Perhaps, Kohli’s penchant for big runs is the only thing that isn’t working. Otherwise, he was getting those 40s, 50s, and 60s — but no hundred has come from his bat since November 2019.
Concerns have been raised over when the renaissance man will come back to his element. He yet again came close to it at Cape Town’s Newlands stadium with a fighting 79 against an accurate South Africa pace attack.
Kohli wasn’t at his usual best. He played over 80 deliveries to make the first 20 runs, occupied the crease, paced his innings brilliantly almost, and didn’t bother that a resurgent Cheteshwar Pujara was scoring at a higher strike rate than him. Kohli just kept one end up by curbing his aggressive instinct.
Undoubtedly, Kohli has gone through a lot in the last few months off the field, and on it, the decider third Test against South Africa was more important for him in more ways than one.
Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar was ecstatic. “Kohli should be proud of this knock,” exclaimed Gavaskar on air.
Those who thought that Kohli is essentially a bottom-hand player and could only score runs with such a great degree of consistency because of his fitness regime would also vouch for the way he batted with gumption against the formidable South African pace attack.
Of course, the outswingers were hurled at him, but Kohli had all the time in the world to wade off the temptations. How often do you see him playing over 200 deliveries and scoring at a strike rate of 39.30, as opposed to a career rate of 56.27?
In the end, we have developed muscle memory of seeing Kohli getting a hundred after a start, and therefore, it is tough to settle for less!