2021: A mixed bag for Kohli as he loses numero uno spot in Indian cricket

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Virat Kohli, India’s Test captain had been a commandeering and influential person in Indian cricket. He was leading India in all three formats, a rare feat for any Indian captain in the past.

Things started going downhill in 2017 after Kohli had a fall-out with Anil Kumble that forced the latter to resign from the post of head coach.

That’s when Ravi Shastri stepped in as head coach. There were talks that Kohli had insisted BCCI make him head coach.

But, the change didn’t bring much in terms of getting an ICC trophy in the cabinet as India lost to Pakistan in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.

Apart from that, they had a wonderful working partnership that took India and Indian cricket to new heights as the team won a lot of bilateral series but again failed to win an ICC tournament; the World Cup of 2019.

Change of Dynamics

But in 2021, things started to take a turn for the worse. Although India again won a Test series in Australia, repeating the feat of 2018-19, everyone saw how Virat Kohli left the team mid-way because of his paternity leave.

It was starting to appear that with Kohli’s absence, India might slump to a defeat, but led by Ajinkya Rahane, the team captured the Aussies’ fortress, The Gabba successfully and thus sealed the series 2-1.

But, it was still maintained that Kohli would lead the Test team, despite Ajinkya Rahane’s success as captain. Kohli took over and defeated England in India in the 4-match Test series.

But, Kohli remained hundred-less and this streak had reached more than a year. His batting came under the radar because of his poor show. He, however, continued to lead the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

The Loss at World Test Championship Final

The ICC World Test Championship meant that Kohli had another shot at winning an ICC trophy during his captaincy tenure. After IPL got suspended in May because of the COVID-19 outbreak in India, the team got a much-deserved rest before they left for England.

They first battled it out with New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship, but things didn’t go as planned and India lost yet again.

However, they dominated England in England in the 5-match Test series that is still incomplete as one Test remains to be played. India is currently leading 2-1.

While KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma scored hundreds, Kohli couldn’t make runs, managing to get only 218 runs across 4 Tests.

The Horrors of the T20 World Cup

Fans of Kohli and Indian cricket knew that the last opportunity for Kohli surfaced was the ICC T20 World Cup in 2021. Everyone was hoping that India would be able to win the trophy this time.

But all of it got shattered as India was clobbered by Pakistan by 10 wickets in the first match, while New Zealand steam-rolled India in their next super-12 stage match, thus giving India an early exit from the tournament. India couldn’t even reach the knockout stage of the tournament.

The BCCI thus wanted to remove Kohli from the ODI captaincy as they believed that as Kohli had quit the T20I captaincy, he had no right to hold on to the 50-over captaincy.

India gained new heights despite controversy

The controversy made big headlines and continued till the build-up to the first Test at Centurion.

India, under Kohli’s captaincy again worked their magic and won a historic Test in South Africa.

Although Kohli couldn’t revive his batting form, the team went on to win and are leading the series 1-0. Kohli is the first Asian captain to win a Test in Centurion as India ended 2021 on a memorable note.

Thus, Kohli will ever remain an indispensable part of Indian cricket in the limited-overs at least but he has lost the former glory that he had as India’s captain. He hasn’t been able to score runs nor has he been able to hit a century.

Let’s hope the new year brings good things to Indian cricket.

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