India Tour Of South Africa: No century for Kohli in 2021

, Six Sports

India is up against the Proteas at their home for a 3 match Test series and has shown incredible character in the 1st Test. The ongoing match witnessed a batting masterclass from KL Rahul and a blazing Mohammed Shami race to his 200th dismissal in Tests with an exceptional fifer. India though has an upper hand in the match, yet there are surely a few negatives from the game.

Pujara once again missed out on a big knock while Rahane looked promising in the 1st innings yet failed to register a fifty. Captain Virat Kohli too continued his dwindling form as the run machine got out once again chasing a delivery on the off-stump in both the innings. On Day 4, when India looked in a bit of trouble with openers back in the hut for small scores, the burden was on Kohli to pull his team out of danger. He alongside Pujara looked positive from ball 1 as they faced the dangerous pace attack of the Proteas. Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi challenged the batters a lot but the duo looked firm in their resolve.

, Six Sports

Another start to another heartbreak

India were 79-3 as they headed back to the dressing room for Lunch planning to extend their lead to 300 plus in the 2nd session. Things took a rapid turn as Kohli got out 18(32) on the first delivery after Lunch giving South Africa a scope to demolish the rest of the batting lineup.

He fell prey to the debutant, Marco Jansen, in a similar fashion as he did in the 1st innings and in prior matches. Kohli had gone for a loose drive and as a result, edging the full-wide of off stump delivery to the gloves of de Kock. On his way back to the dressing room, Kohli smashed his pads as he look dejected after another failure to convert his starts to a biggie. The cameras on the ground captured an infuriated Kohli who was dispirited while watching the replays of his dismissal.

In recent times, it has been a straightforward strategy of opposition bowlers to target Kohli on the off stump due to his tendency to go for the drive on most occasions, the plan has fallen into place quite often which as a consequence, has led to Kohli’s declining form with the bat. Legendary Test opener Sunil Gavaskar who is presently commentating in this tour did not shy away to voice his opinions on Kohli’s lack of control against deliveries on the off stump –

“That was a loose shot after lunch. Every batsman gives himself some time after a break. You have got to reset your batting. Kohli is such an experienced batter, maybe at the back of the mind, he was looking for a declaration. How far away that ball i. He could have left it all alone, it was the first ball after lunch,”

Kohli the batter, therefore, ends 2021 without a hundred, which marked 2 calendar years since his last century against Bangladesh in the Eden Gardens back in November 2019. For a player who is 3rd on the list of cricketers with the most number of international centuries, it is quite an unusual phase for King Kohli. He scored 536 runs with 4 fifties in 11 matches and his average dropped to 28.21 compared to his career batting average of 50.34.

Despite a few critical knocks in the past year, he definitely will hope for things to change in the coming year. From stepping down as T20I skipper to being dropped as the ODI captain- besides batting records, it was quite a strenuous year for Kohli.

With a new year to the fore with several new hurdles, Kohli and his fans will be expecting the genius to roar back and be at his best once again in the matches ahead.

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