Virat Kohli was dismissed cheaply in the first innings of the third Test at Headingley
The journalist in this writer is forced to remain objective when talking about Virat Kohli’s atrocious and criminal dismissal at Headingley.
The fan in him, though, feels differently.
It was that shot that drove you nuts. It was that disappointing walk back to the pavilion that stings the most. The icing on the bitter and stale cake is the vivid image of a morose Virat Kohli watching his team crumble haplessly against a disciplined bowling attack.
The image rolls back to the expression Aussie skipper Michael Clarke had when his side imploded for 47 in chasing South Africa’s 96 in 2011.
It’s a battle within, really. Do we feel sorry for Kohli? Or do we just go on a rant and watch with frustration as the trolls, the haters, and the keyboard warriors go berserk?
Twitter is a cruel place to be. Especially if you are a Kohli fan. Forget Cheteshwar Pujara’s horrendous run, and for a moment forget Ajinkya Rahane’s perfect inconsistency. It was and always will be Kohli who bails you out. He’s your Man of Steel, he’s your hero, and he’s the one you count on when the team is in dire straits.
The man who toyed with England’s bowling attack in 2018 despite India’s woeful tournament is now struggling. With scores of 0, 42, 20 and 7, Kohli is a pale shadow of himself. He currently averages 17.25, an alarming number that’s hard to comprehend.
Sympathy or hate: What does Virat Kohli need right now?
Only Virat Kohli can rectify his flaws
Objectivity is key, so to answer the question, we can use the same approach – put emotions in the rear window and analyze what Virat Kohli needs to do.
For starters, there could be technical tweaks. It could be correcting the fact he jumps early into the shot. It could be the patience that he’s lacking to let the ball go. He’s chasing those balls knowing fully that England’s condition aids swing and they have the sultans who can make the ball dance.
There’s an innings and two more Tests left in the series for Kohli to salvage his pride. He doesn’t have to prove to the world he’s a modern-day great, but he needs to switch back to his old self, you know, the guy who’s a bit of a freak, a Giannis Antetokounmpo so to speak.
From a fan perspective, let’s start with hate. It’s a strong word. But it’s safe to say it is what a billion people feel right now and in a way, it’s okay to feel bummed out. Every innings comes with the hope of a Virat causing ‘Kohl’ lateral damage, yet he walks back getting out in the most infuriating of ways.
For Virat Kohli-Stans, the wait for that elusive ton or that comeback knock continues, and with it the anger and the disappointment just toggles between simmers and flares.
There’s also that emotion called sympathy. He is human, he has a lean phase, he is mortal. Such has been the image of Virat Kohli that there is a strong belief system that says he cannot fail.
He is stuttering and it’s time the world maybe accepts it. You can only feel sorry every time Kohli walks back.
Virat Kohli is in a run slump and only he can sort it out. Until then, the only solution is to hope. Hope for the Indian skipper to make a resounding statement and hope he proves his naysayers wrong.
Until then, it’s probably not wrong to beat down the rant a tad bit?