Here’s Why Virat Kohli’s Second-Slowest Test Fifty Is His Best Ever

Last updated:

Is the ‘King’ back? Well, two things – patience in leaving the balls outside off and the single-mindedness of playing his shots – do indicate that Virat Kohli, India’s Test captain, is now again ready to rule the world with his bat.

Virat Kohli registered his second-slowest Test fifty on Tuesday, on Day 1 of the Cape Town Test. When his team needed him, the skipper stood up as the South African pacers exploited every assistance from the Newlands surface. But that didn’t deter Virat Kohli from starting 2022 on a positive note, at least on an individual level.

A gritty fifty – again, his second-slowest – in the circumstances, against a relentless four-man pace attack will serve Kohli well going forward in the year.

Virat Kohli got off the mark with a glorious cover drive; he reached his fifty in a similar trademark fashion too. But, it was what had happened in between that was admirable.

In the first Test, Kohli had been dismissed twice outside to balls the off-stump, guilty of chasing deliveries which he could have and should have easily left alone. In Cape Town, however, the right-hander was peerless in his judgement.

Firstly, he played out 15 dot balls, waiting for the bad ball as the host pacers stuck to their plan. Then, when that delivery arrived, Kohli pounced on it to unleash his cover drive.

Here’s Why Virat Kohli’s Second-Slowest Test Fifty Is His Best Ever

In the morning session, when India lost both the openers, Kohli was, unsurprisingly, heavily tested on his game outside off-stump with Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi sticking to the channel outside off-stump, Marco Jansen angling it in the same direction while Duanne Olivier also hurling down some sharp short balls.

Kohli didn’t give away anything. He was outstanding in his decision-making about to play his stroke or not bother leaving the ball. According to ESPNcricinfo’s control stats, Kohli was in control of his shots for 90 percent or more throughout his knock till he reached his fifty.

Kohli was also involved in a heated battle – between bat and ball, to be clear here – with South Africa’s spearhead pacer, Kagiso Rabada. Rabada did manage to draw Kohli in a rare bad shot – in regards to today – and have the Indian captain edging outside off-stump, but Kohli’s soft hands ensured that the edge didn’t carry to the slip fielder who were waiting for a similar sort of chance.

Until he raised his bat for his half-century to a standing ovation from the Indian dressing room, Kohli had, according to Cricviz, left 50 percent of his 158 deliveries. Only on one other occasion – in Perth in 2012 – has Kohli left over 40% of deliveries on his way to a half-century. Evidently, this shows the proportions of how restrained, and patient Kohli has been in his stay.

Also Read: Here’s How Virat Kohli Opened His Account After Facing 15 Dot Balls