Earlier, Kohli had fell for a first-ball duck to Dushmantha Chameera of Lucknow Super Giants in an IPL 2022 match on Tuesday and that is the latest setback in a career plunged to a seemingly endless abyss since 2019.
Earlier, it was Kohli’s inability to get hundred was the main focus but in the IPL 2022, the Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman is struggling to get even fifty despite getting close to the mark on a couple of occasions.
Kohli so far has played 8 matches and made 119 runs at average just above 19 at a strike rate of 123, very less than his overall IPL strike rate of 130. His highest is 48, and that also counts for two 40+ score he made in the IPL 2022 so far.
But while the RCB have been doing well in the IPL 2022, they are heavily depend on Dinesh Karthik, Faf du Plessis or young Anuj Rawat to set or chase the targets in the tournament.
There is a visible decline in the impact of Kohli in RCB’s scorecard and his presence often ended in some sharp catches or saves on the field. Kohli the batsman seemed to have hit the downward curve in the IPL as well after the Indian team in recent years.
“Virat Kohli did score some runs but when I see him, I focus on how far his sixes go – near the boundary, in the stands or the second tier. He’s still only just clearing the boundary ropes and this is what I have often said in the past year – Virat Kohli’s power game has diminished a bit. Five-six years ago he used to hit big sixes.
“I will focus on that and not him hitting 50 or 60 runs. Once his power game gets better then I’ll say Virat Kohli has arrived in T20 cricket”, said former Indian batsman and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar while speaking to ESPNcricinfo after Kohli made a 48 against the Mumbai Indians a few days back.
While his form for RCB is a matter of worry for that franchise as they do not have a ready replacement for Kohli in the No 3 position, a slot that Kohli owned for a long time with the Challengers.
But it also a worry for Team India in the year of T20 World Cup 2022 to be held in Australia later this year. India need a fit and firing Kohli at No 3 rather than a vulnerable, middling batsman struggling to clear the ropes.
In the IPL 2022, we have seen some players reasserting their talent like Sanju Samson or a youngster making his claim with some good efforts like Ayush Badoni.
Hardik Pandya seemed to have found a new mojo while playing at No 4 for Gujarat Titans and he is also bowling now and that is a good sign for India as the options in a big year is increasing at a rapid pace.
So, where will Kohli find himself amidst this rush? It is not a very comforting thought but that age-old adage of ‘one innings away from regaining form’ seemed to have lasted too long in the case of Kohli.
Will he reinvent himself? We have some interesting days ahead.