It was a decade ago when the greatest batsman of all time Sachin Tendulkar had a poor series down under in Australia. That tour almost became the dark spot in Sachin’s illustrious career. In the first three test matches, Sachin managed just 82 runs in 6 innings as the Aussie fans and media started to get under the skin of the batsman by calling him Duckdulkar, Onedulkar, Twodulkar, Threedulkar etc. based on the runs he scored. In the majority of the six innings, he got dismissed while trying to play a cover drive.
When it all seemed as Sachin’s poor performance in a series, the Master Blaster silenced all his critics in the best possible way he could. In the fourth and final test match at Sydney, Sachin showed the world his master class with a gritty and a fluent 241*, the innings which was pure class and a treat to our eyes. The best part of that innings is Sachin learnt from his previous errors, played the knock from his mind and didn’t play a single cover drive in the 436 ball vigil. It was also revealed later that Sachin was seen playing in his hotel room the night before the match.
At present, another Indian batsman who has all the qualities to replace Tendulkar in the India’s batting line-up faces the same dark patch as Tendulkar. This time though, the venue is England and the batsman is Virat Kohli. Kohli, who has been a revelation with the bat since making his debut was considered the right person to replace Sachin Tendulkar at the number 4 position in tests. He even performed remarkably well in tough conditions in New Zealand and South Africa. Flying to England as India’s trump card against England’s seam attack, Kohli flopped big time and managed 108 runs in 8 innings with a test match still to go.
Now he is under tremendous pressure as he is facing criticisms from all quarters be it the Indian media which tend to do these type of things time and time again or the matured cricket fans who are disappointed with his performance in the tour or few immature fans who link his failures to the presence of his spouse Anuskha Sharma in England. The main reason for his failures some doubts that have crept his mind. Kohli has been getting out frequently caught at slips trying to poke the ball outside the off stump.
Kohli is a champion player and he would be cursing himself for poking at deliveries outside the off-stump on numerous occasions. That might be because of his dismissal at Lords that might been running his mind. Kolhi decided to leave a delivery from Liam Plunkett but the ball swung in and hit the top of off stump. So that might be the reason Kohli is using his bat to block the odd inswinger and end up getting caught behind or at the slips.
Area marked by a black marker: Kohli’s weakzone in this series
Red Dots: Edged and taken by the Keeper or the slips.
Blue Dot: LBW
Green Dot: Bowled
Even in the past, Kohli has been targeted by the opposition bowlers, but he managed to bounce strongly in no time. A prime example for this is the home series against England in 2012, he made a comeback into the test side and struggled in the first three Tests where committed near-identical errors before sorting it out ahead of the last game where he went on to score a century.
It is inevitable for a player to keep on dominating throughout his career and there will be some times when even the best in the business undergo a rough patch. That is a phase in every player that tests every bit of their ability, resilience and determination. This phase separates legendary players from normal players.
Kohli is a mentally strong batsman which is clearly evident by his match saving knock for Delhi against Karnataka where he continued to play for his side inspite of his father’s demise. He just needs to stick to his basics and play to his mind rather than hesitating at the last moment. The English bowlers won’t count out off-colour Virat Kohli is a wounded lion and is more dangerous than his usual self. The fifth test at The Oval test Kohli’s resilience and will tell the world that Is Kohli in the league of legendary batsmen?.