Virat Kohli is having his worst IPL campaign since 2009. In 8 innings so far this season, the former Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper has managed only 119 runs, at average of 17 (this is Kohli’s worst season average since 2008 when he averaged 15); he’s failed to hit even a single half-century yet.
Although there have been talks of his dip in form over the past couple of years, before the IPL, Virat Kohli had been striking the ball well, regularly recording half-centuries and there was no real sign of a stark decline.
However, this IPL season, even though he started off well, he has looked a pale shadow of the dominant Kohli that had ruled world cricket in the last decade. His false shots seem to be more frequent than they had been, and he’s susceptible to getting out even when he’s got set. Kohli has never looked more vulnerable in white-ball cricket than he’s done in the IPL 2022.
Here’s what Virat Kohli needs to change:
Virat Kohli should open the batting
Remember the 2016 season – when Virat Kohli batted like a dream: 973 runs, 4 centuries, 7 fifties. Yeah, that incredible form came when he opened the batting. There’s a significant difference in Kohli’s IPL numbers as an opener – average of 43, strike rate of 136 – and at number 3 – average of 35, strike rate of 123.
Not only opening the batting may help Kohli, but it will also strengthen RCB’s batting that has failed to get off quick starts from du Plessis and Anuj Rawat. Without the uneasiness of waiting in the dugout for the first wicket to fall, a free-minded Kohli will be ready to take on the opposition from the first ball.
Take his time to settle in at the start of his innings
The last two dismissals of Virat Kohli tell you that he’s itching to have a big knock. He slashed Dushmantha Chameera straight to point, and in the next game, he attempted to drive a full swinging ball from Marco Jansen, edging it to second slip. Two golden ducks.
The fast bowlers have really enjoyed bowling in this IPL season, especially with the new ball as they have gotten assistance from the pitch and conditions. Kohli just needs to curb his attacking instincts at the start of his innings, get his eye in, settle down, adjust to the pitch, before unleashing his array of strokes.
Virat Kohli needs a break
Although it may seem improbable, because he’s Kohli and a lot is riding on his presence, Virat Kohli needs a break. Any other batter to have registered consecutive golden ducks will almost certainly be dropped from the team. But this is Kohli we are talking about.
He doesn’t need to look too far away than his friend Hardik Pandya, who has returned stronger, hungrier, and more clear-headed than he’s ever been after being away from the game for over four months.
And while is unlikely to take such a long break to work on his physical and mental aspects, he may just need a break from this rut. Maybe a rest of couple of games, spend time with his family, chill, without thinking much about cricket, talk to the senior cricketers who have gone through such dip but bounced back strongly. For the 33-year-old has plenty of gas left in his tank, but he needs to make sure to be mentally fit to be able to utilize the remaining years of his career.