The Fall and Rise of VIRAT KOHLI

On September 8, around 9:30 pm. Afghan pacer Fareed Ahmed bowled a short ball a little over the waist, and the confident wrists of VIRAT KOHLI smashed the ball over the deep mid wicket for a six…and finally the drought of 1021 days ended…that was the 71st century for the stalwart whom the world knows as…KING KOHLI. But, the 1020 days before that, were not easy for him, and in this article, we will deconstruct the bad days of the champion player which was followed by an epic comeback just before India kicks off its campaign at the T20 World Cup.

The Captaincy Snub

Virat is a player of high stature, filled with extreme self-respect for his talent and the hard work he puts in. It might not come up in numbers, but the fact is, it is Virat only who taught this team to be FEARLESS and AGGRESSIVE. He took over the Test captaincy of India back in 2015 of a team that ranked at No.7 and was not considered ‘competitive’ enough to put up a fight Overseas. By the time he left the captaincy the same team was etched at No. 1 for five consecutive years with two series wins in Australia and a couple more memorable and historic overseas test wins.

In 2017, he also took over the limited-overs captaincy as well. He had a clear vision of replicating the success as a leader in shorter formats as well. But, the road was not going to be that easy. India was performing extremely well across the formats with a success rate of a whopping 70%. But, the team was missing out on winning titles. Even after topping the table in the group stage, India could not breach the knockout barrier. India lost the 2017 CT Final, the 2019 WC Semi-Final and then also the Final of the Test championship. If it had not been for Virat, any team would have changed the captain by now. But, removing someone as Virat just like that was never going to be easy. And the way BCCI handled the situation made it all even worse.

IPL 2022: Virat Kohli 'anxious' and 'fried' but will battle out of alarming  slump | Cricket News - Times of India

Pic: Virat Kohli frustrated while being out-of-form

Search for form amid Isolation

So, at the start of 2022, Virat Kohli was removed from the captaincy of ODIs and he had LEFT the captaincy of Tests and T20Is (at least that’s what is official). Suddenly, Virat who was the face of Indian cricket and synonymous with it, found himself isolated in the leadership circle of the team. In addition to this, his dipping form for the past year made the situation even tough for him. He had not scored a single hundred since November 2019, and that pressure started taking a toll on his natural game. His getting over-the-top aggressive on the field, getting abusive to the arrogant fans in New Zealand, and even picking a fight with the stump mic in South Africa, all just showed how FRUSTRATED he was from within and wanted to take it on something.

As is said, the biggest weakness of a great player is his GREATNESS. Every time, Virat came out to bat, either he was playing cautiously a tad too much or he was trying to be hyper-aggressive, both of which are not his natural way of play. As a result, now even the consistent fifties that were coming amidst the century drought stopped as well. His performance on the England tour and the IPL were extremely below the mark. Now, calls and opinions started coming in the cricket fraternity for Virat to be DROPPED. Many started doubting his place in the T20 World Cup. Young players like SKY, Pant and Hooda performing well and Virat NOT being a ‘Power-Hitter’ further gave fire to the questions.

CricTracker on Twitter: "🎙️'The amount of pressure that you are constantly  under, can affect your mental health negatively' - Virat Kohli added  #AsiaCup2022 #Cricket #ViratKohli" / Twitter

Pic: Virat Kohli talking about his mental health


After the English tour, India had to tour Windies just before the Asia Cup. It was being said that Virat’s performance on the tour will decide his place in the Asia Cup and the T20WC. But, as a surprise, Virat decided to take a break from the tour. Many questioned his break when he is struggling for form, but Virat knew that he needed it badly, as he said after the break. In Virat’s own words, amid all the pressure of the milestone, he was perhaps FAKING his intensity. It was further worsening his situation as he felt ALONE even in a room filled with people close to him. So, he decided to come back afresh and for that, he alienated himself from the game. He said that it was the first time in more than 10 years, that he had not picked up his bat once in the whole month.

Also Read: My Article on the phenomenon that is called RCB and what makes it so special

Redemption in the ASIA CUP

Finally, Virat was back in the Asia Cup and the opening encounter was against Pakistan. India had a modest target of 150-odd on a sluggish wicket. Wickets were falling and the condition was not easy to bat. Once again, the VIRAT the world knows came upfront and for the first time in a long long time, looked SO confident. The flick over mid-wicket, the elegant cover drive and even his defences were giving the vibes of old times. It seemed that he will again finish the way he always does…but not this time. At the score of 35, he misjudged a shot and was caught. But, fortunately, the team was in a control by then and won the match in the end with some decent finishing by JADEJA and PANDYA.

In the next game against, Hong Kong, Virat finally broke his jinx and scored a fine fifty. But, the main CLASS of the stalwart was going to come out against Pakistan only. This time, while batting first, India was again in trouble with initial wickets down early. Again, Virat got in his grooves and played the ‘Anchor’ role. After some delightful strokes when he was on 47, he smashed a huge six over mid-wicket to reach his fifty. He kissed the tricolour on his jersey. The scenes etched the fact that Virat Kohli is back. Although even after reaching 180, India failed to defend the score, Virat’s inning was a mild satisfaction for everyone.

India vs Pakistan: What records did Virat Kohli break during Asia Cup 2022  Super 4 clash? | Cricket News

Pic: Virat kissing the TRICOLOUR after a great inning against PAKISTAN

In the next game against Sri Lanka, he was out on a duck, and India lost this game too. This meant that India was also out of the Asia Cup. So, logically the last game against Afghanistan was a dead rubber, but it was holding the surprise no one expected. Rohit rested himself in the game and Virat came out to open with Rahul. India got off to a flying start. Virat played at a normal pace till he reached his fifty, but once after that, he got on the fifth gear. Slowly, in the back of everybody’s mind, ’71’ started ticking. He was literally SMASHING sixes that day with his authoritative pulls and drives.

At the end of 18 overs, Virat stood on 90. The first ball of the over, Virat hit down the ground for a four. Now, I was getting a vibe that he will reach his 100 with a six only. And, the next ball, Afghan pacer Fareed Ahmed bowled a short ball a little over the waist, and the confident wrists of VIRAT KOHLI smashed the ball over the deep mid wicket for a six…and finally the drought of 1021 days ended…that was the 71st century for KING KOHLI. He smashed two more sixes in the last over, taking India to 212. By the time innings ended, Virat stood unbeaten at 122 off 61 deliveries (his highest EVER T20 score). India won the match by a historic 101 runs. His calm and relaxed celebration showed how peaceful he was from within. His kissing of the ring and dedicating the 100 to his wife Anushka Sharma and daughter Vamika, further sweetened the moment. Now, although India was out of the competition, Virat’s 71st 100 was enough for the country to rejoice.

Asia Cup 2022: Star Sports shares a new video dedicated to Virat Kohli's  71st international century

Pic: Virat Kohli after scoring the 71st 100

Australia and South Africa Series

If anyone thought, Virat’s form was short-term stuff…they were proved wrong soon. In the series decider against Australia, India had to chase a target of more than 180+, and it was an uphill task after the openers were gone soon. Virat along with Suryakumar rebuild the innings extremely well. Although it was SKY who was the main star of the game, Virat again played the ‘Anchor’ role extremely well. He started with some fluent shots, but when the wickets fell he calmed down a bit. Then again when SKY was settling, he again took the charge and as soon as SKY came to his vintage best, he again played the second fiddle. Finally, when India needed 11 off the last over, it was Virat who smashed the six off the first ball and almost made sure that India comes out victorious. More than anything else, looking at Virat smashing the likes of Hazlewood and Cummins for sixes affirmed the fact that Virat is well and truly back.

His form continued in the next series as well. In the second game against South Africa too, Virat played a top inning. He scored 49 not out off just 28 balls. More than the score, what mattered more in the game was Virat’s selflessness. At the start of the 20th over, when Dinesh Karthik had the strike and he asked Virat whether he should give him the strike, Virat refused and asked him to score big. The 17 runs that DK scored in the last over actually turned out to be the difference in the game. So, just before the T20WC India had won two series against Australi and South Africa, which gave the team confidence after the Asia Cup debacle.

Also Read: My Article on India’s 2011 World Cup victory from the eyes of a Kid

A Look at INDIA’s Squad at the T20WC

As far as India’s squad for the upcoming T20WC is concerned, it’s looking REALLY strong. I would even say that it is the Best squad selected by India as compared to the last few tournaments. Now I have my reservations about a couple of selections but overall it’s really decent. The opening combination is great. Rahul despite not being in the best of his form is a Game Changer. Virat is back in his old league to play the anchor role. The middle order is mind-boggling with SKY, Hardik and DK…all in good form. We also have someone like Pant as an option and Hooda too. SAMSON is really an unlucky miss here, he should have taken the flight, but anyways…his time will come.

Regarding bowling, Axar is a must-play option for getting the right balance. While Chahal and Ashwin should be played as per the conditions and the left/right composition of the opposition. The Pacers that we have got are the best among the ‘available’ options. Despite his recent struggles, we can’t ignore BHUVI, as he holds both skills as well as experience. Arshdeep has been rewarded rightly for consistent performances. Harshal Patel if we remember rightly was the PURPLE PATEL a year back, so we should trust him for a while after he has returned from an injury.
Shami has been a smart inclusion (also the only available option we had). He holds the right skill and experience, but what he lacks is match practice. He should have been given matches, at least the ODIs against SA. It’s a blunder.

ICC T20 World Cup 2022 | India squad announced; Bumrah and Harshal Patel  return - The Hindu

Pic: India’s squad for the T20 World Cup 2022 

Best chance to bring the Cup back Home

So, when we have the look at the overall team, we have got very powerful ammunition. While our Batting is a POWERHOUSE, the bowling also just all it needs to do is CLICK at the crunch moments. Death bowling is a serious concern but that can be managed with proper execution. Fielding might turn out to be the game-changer, so we better keep ourselves on the toe regarding that too. Our recent form as a team has been quite good, especially after the Asia Cup debacle. We have a good enough record playing in Australia, and we should bank upon it and prepare ourselves well.

Now, for those thinking why I haven’t talked ROHIT in length because I reserved him for the end. As a batsman, we all know what he is capable of. But as a Captain, he has got a superb understanding of the game, especially in limited overs. He manages his players very well. Especially, he also knows taking the game out in crunch situations. Although, that didn’t turn out to be the case in the two close matches in Asia Cup, but still he is a 5-time IPL winning captain, and so far unbeaten in ALL the bilateral series that we have played under him. He has also got a great partner Rahul Dravid…the WALL for able support. So, it’s a good enough gap for INDIA without a trophy and as I said we have selected the BEST squad in recent times and that also means that it is our Best chance to bring the cup back home. All the Best Team India…we all are cheering for you all the way from here…and we will be waiting for holding the CUP.


Don’t miss my posts!

We don’t spam!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *