T20 World Cup 2024: Why Virat Kohli must find his form quickly?

NewsBharati    17-Jun-2024 10:57:14 AM
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-Devdeep Tyagi

In the cricketing lexicon, the definition of a great batsman perhaps goes beyond the realm of runs scored and centuries hit. It quite certainly extends the scope of scaling personal milestones.

Maybe it makes sense to suggest that Batman's true greatness is measured by his efforts in helping his team win.

Virat Kohli T20 World Cup 2024

The definition of a great batter

Moreover, greatness is also measured by the element of consistency.

And truth be told, Virat Kohli is a great standing on a very high pedestal for in all these years he’s made India win on countless occasions and at the same time, emerged as a parable of consistency.

Through sheer consistency, innings like his 117 (off 113) in the must-win semi-final versus the BlackCaps in the 2023 came to the fore. It was sheer desire to contribute to the team’s cause that a knock as sublime and timeless as that unbeaten 82* (off 53) came against Pakistan when all seemed lost in the 2022 T20 World Cup clash at the MCG.

Kohli’s been there when needed

For the last decade, Virat Kohli has played like King, famed spinners and pacers alike, made runs both at home and in tough away conditions, made winning a habit and demonstrated an instinct for domination.

But the Virat Kohli we see today in the T20 World Cup 2024 has, unless one reads it entirely incorrectly, a few things to solve.

Current batting woes

And while quite frankly we can all offer multiple theories as to why runs have suddenly stopped flowing from the bat of a true batting great- and rather conveniently so since none of us are out there amid intense pressure- fact certainly is that Virat Kohli isn’t scoring any runs.

What’s worrying, if at all one could side with that logic, is that in none of three innings he’s played so far he has reached double digit scores.

The mini-slump?

In the big game against Pakistan, he made 4. Before that, he was out for a solitary run against Ireland who are about as strong in comparison to Team India as a hare in front of an African elephant. And what’s more? Against the USA, who with much due respect are minnows in comparison to India’s mammoth playing experience, Virat Kohli was sent back to the dugout immediately after arriving in the middle.

Frankly, so shocking was the sight of seeing a golden duck against his name that one couldn’t believe one’s eyes.

Having said that, what must be bothering him, over and above legions of his devoted fans, is that he must be aching really bad on the inside, perhaps torn in some ways by the frustration of not scoring despite playing no fewer than 3 games.

Loss of form is a bit of a surprise

Moreover, what only exacerbates the Virat Kohli conundrum - someone who has 4026 plus T20I runs to his name and an overall experience of playing 120 T20I games for India- is that just before entering this World Cup campaign, he was the wearer of the Orange Cap in the IPL.

So even as the great Sunny Gavaskar has said that just because you don’t get scores in three innings it doesn’t mean that you’re batting poorly, deep inside Kohli would be desperate to find some sort of a breakthrough.

Big opportunity up ahead

India’s next game is against Afghanistan, an opponent he can feed upon akin to a bird of prey pouncing over a hapless or tiny defendant. In all honesty, unless he gets a peach of a delivery, it shouldn’t be that hard for Virat Kohli to find his rhythm again.

And one reckons, what could be any better than Kohli finding some nick of form right in the big Super 8 games?

That is where India will find some giant-sized competition instead of the pint-sized opposition given teams like the USA (whom he’s faced), who’ve hardly played competitive cricket against main ICC members.

And should runs begin to fall like rain, it would perhaps also silence his detractors who didn’t want names like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to be in the USA for the World Cup in the first place.

Kohli is raring to go

Make no mistake- Kohli’s fitness and tenacity are redoubtable even as he is in his twilight years. This is someone with north of 26,000 runs against his name. And that must not be forgotten.

But for a player like him, who has made scoring runs an inveterate habit, they (runs) must come, especially in big prestigious ICC events such as this World Cup. Else, who knows he’ll himself lose the motivation at some stage. And no one wants that.

What Kohli’s loss of form means to the others

The only blessing in disguise, if any, given Kohli’s little slump is that the others around him- such as the players in the middle order- have adapted to the tough conditions.

The likes of Dube and Sky who were slow to begin against Pakistan finally came through and shone brightly as seen versus the Americans. There’s a self sufficiency that the middle order is working towards. But wouldn’t it be all great if Kohli up top was to provide the massively competitive team some fireworks?