Decoding the Century Drought of Virat Kohli.

Author: Arijit
07 Sep 2021 01:56:23
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Virat Kohli has been undoubtedly one of the modern-day greats and his tally of 23031 international runs and 70 centuries rightly validates it. In fact, Virat Kohli is the only batsman in modern era who is on track to eclipse the rare feat of Sachin Tendulkar's Century of Centuries.

The last time he scored an international century, the world was relatively unknown to the era of pandemic.

It was the first Day and Night Test India played and it was Virat Kohli who led the batting charts with a brilliant 136. India ended up cleaning Bangladesh within 3 days courtesy to the Indian bowling attack.

India got the start that they wanted in the World Test Championship and Virat Kohli was way on track to rule the run scorer list yet again. It was Virat Kohli's 70th International ton.

But very few actually realized that it was just the beginning of probably the leanest patch that Virat Kohli would probably endure in his 14 years of international career.

In fact, this is the longest period that Virat Kohli has been without an international century. Kohli's century drought has now been extended up to 51 innings, the maximum in his career. The previous time Kohli encountered such a century drought was way back in 2014 where he failed to reach a hundred for 25 innings.

Although Virat has been hitting runs and batting well but the three-figure mark is something that has been eluding him for a long time.

Today, I will emphasize on a few factors that are probably clinging on every Virat Kohli's fans mind.

1) Is Virat not batting well?

Well, if we look at the scores of Virat Kohli there has been a string of low scores but there have been a few good scores as well. In fact, Virat has scored 18 half centuries in this period with a highest score of 94* but not once he has been able to reach the three-figure mark. His 2 fifties against England in tests has been in challenging conditions and he looked good too in the D/N test against Australia before getting run out for 74.

2) Is he chasing the away deliveries?

Virat Kohli has the knack of getting out to out swinging deliveries. In fact, his failure in the 2014 series in England is well documented when Jimmy Anderson made Kohli his bunny by scalping his wicket 4 times.

But Kohli in 2021 is not so vulnerable to outswingers. Although he has gotten out thrice in the same fashion in the current England tour, I believe Virat Kohli has moved beyond it.

3) Is getting out to Spin a concern?

The Indian batsmen has been brilliant players of spin over the years and Virat Kohli has been no different. But in the recent times, Virat has been somehow susceptible to the ball spinning into him. Be it a classical off spinning delivery by Moeen Ali in Chennai that cleaned him up or be it cleaned up by a wrong one of Adam Zampa, the spinners have been quite successful in seeing the back of Virat Kohli in the recent past. Even in his last innings against Moeen Ali in Oval, he got dismissed to Moeen Ali for 44.

4) Why is he failing to deliver in big occasions?

Virat Kohli is a type of batsman who thrives to perform and deliver in big stages. Be it the D/N test against Australia in Adelaide or the Finals of the World Test Championship, Virat Kohli got off to a solid start in both the innings.

He was unfortunate in the Day Night Test in Adelaide where he got ran out after batting so well. The same was the case in the Finals of World Test Championship as well when he played brilliantly for 44 before getting trapped leg before wicket by Kyle Jamieson. So, we can say that probably Virat Kohli is giving away the good starts too soon.

5) Is being too aggressive an issue?

Virat Kohli is naturally an aggressive player and it is his aggression that drives him to excel. But in recent times, Virat has often fallen prey to his own medicine. In the 3rd test match against England in Lord's Kohli perished to a tame delivery from Sam Curran after having a heated altercation with James Anderson.

6) Is the captaincy pressure affecting his performance?

People may argue that captaining India in all three formats is probably taking a toll in Kohli's batting performance. But Virat Kohli is one of the few batsmen in the world who has not let captaincy get the better of him. In fact, Virat Kohli is currently the only captain in World Cricket who has excelled despite being the skipper. He is currently the 4th most successful captain in Test Cricket with 37 wins under his belt.

7) What's next for the batsman Virat Kohli?

With the IPL starting next month in UAE followed by the World T20, the Indian team has a jam-packed cricket schedule in the days ahead. Virat Kohli led Royal Challengers Bangalore has a golden chance to clinch the maiden IPL Trophy in UAE and if Virat Kohli gets it right with the bat in IPL, we may even see him lead the batting charts in ICC World T20. Coincidentally, Virat Kohli was also the highest run getter and the “Player of the Tournament” in the previous edition of World T20 in 2016.

Final Conclusion:

I guess it's more like a mental block than a technical block for Virat Kohli. It is somehow similar to Tendulkar's quest for his 100th century if not the same. And I still believe that Virat Kohli has enough steel in him to overcome this lean patch and come out stronger and hungrier.

In fact, I am personally waiting for that day when Virat reaches his 71st ton in a glorious and charismatic way.

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