What has happened to Virat Kohli after all? The batsman, for whom scoring a century used to be a part of the routine, has now yearned to score a century in any format of cricket, whether it is Test cricket today. The second innings of the Birmingham Test against England is probably the last innings for Kohli in England with the red ball i.e. Ultimate Format. If this happens, then his struggle is in a way looking like his idol Sachin Tendulkar. On his last tour in 2011, Tendulkar was consistently longing for a big innings and came very close to scoring a century at the last Test Oval of the series, but was stuck in the 90 to 100 figures. Tendulkar could not score a century in his last innings, but he got a standing ovation from the entire audience. Apart from greatness with the bat, Tendulkar’s gracious attitude also made him a hero on foreign soil.
But, this is not the case with Kohli. Three years ago, it seemed that he would break Tendulkar’s record of 100 centuries in the blink of an eye. Instead of crossing 90, his last innings in England did not reach even 25. If this innings of Edgbaston really proves to be Kohli’s last innings of his career in England, then it will be a matter of dismay. Kohli, who disappointed with the bat, also disappointed with his approach in the current match. Jonny Bairstow, who was playing very carefully on the third day of the match and could only score 13 runs in his first 61 balls. This was the batsman who scored a scintillating century in the last two matches.
Now Kohli teases Baisto on this occasion. It is said to them that there is a tu-tu between the two and the umpire has to come in between. When Bairstow came to the press conference on Sunday, this writer jokingly asked him the same question that what was Kohli telling him that he got angry. Jokingly, I asked if it was so that he was requesting for dinner and he turned it down. Baisto smiled at this first and then laughed with glee. He said that he respects Virat a lot and both have a lot of respect against each other. After that I asked the next question which was a bit serious. I asked him if he was not surprised that when a player who is in good form is hit with words, he can go back against his team. This has happened with Kohli himself. Whenever he was targeted, he played a stronger innings.
Baisto also responded to him in his own style, adopting the same approach as Kohli. Baistow scored 78 runs in the next 52 balls after Kohli’s provocation. However, the England batsman did not criticize Kohli’s attitude even after being asked the question repeatedly and instead praised it, it is Kohli’s obsessive nature.
The new captain Jasprit Bumrah may not have been able to say anything to Kohli, but if Rohit Sharma was captaining Bumrah, then perhaps it would not have been possible for Kohli to do so. Kohli gave a different image to Team India in his aggressive style. But, Rohit Sharma’s nature is different and Bumrah’s is more or less the same. This captain wants to show his aggression with bat and ball and not with his tongue. Kohli’s approach may have made Baistow more determined.
The funny thing is that when the second day’s play was over and Baisto was returning unbeaten to the pavilion, he was expressing his friendship with Kohli among the audience by putting his hand on his shoulder. Former England captain Nasser Hussain rightly said after seeing this scene that both the players are spreading their IPL friendship.
Perhaps during this match, Kohli is trying to unknowingly draw attention to himself in a different way than with the bat. Somewhere in his mind, it must have been a feeling that Team India, which is now looking very close to winning this series, has played his role as captain in giving them an unbeatable 2-1 lead last year. In such a situation, if Team India lifts the trophy by winning the series 3-1 on Monday or Tuesday, then whose forehead will be tied for victory? Bumrah will definitely get the credit of the Test match, but Kohli will also be mentioned.
Some of this will remind you of the tour of Pakistan in 2004, when Team India won the first Test played in Multan under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, because Sourav Ganguly was unfit. India lost the second test and when Ganguly returned in the third, Team India won again. But, the basis of that victory was laid by Dravid’s innings of 270 runs. Despite this, if you look at history, then when it comes to the captain who won the historic series 2-1 for the first time in Pakistan, then Ganguly’s name is taken. Dravid is discussed only later. As vice-captain, the decision to declare Tendulkar an innings of 194 runs in the Multan Test or the splendid innings in Rawalpindi. But, very few people discuss his captaincy in winning the series. If during that series itself, Ganguly-Dravid could not balance the praise of captaincy, then how will the balance be balanced in the discussion of this series being played in a gap of 1 year. Is Kohli trying to unknowingly that the basis of this victory was laid by his captaincy and his fighting attitude?
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