Virat Kohli is on a break and there is a good chance that he won't read this article; which is okay because this piece is not for him. Most of what you'll conclude after reading this he already knows.
There is a section among the cricketing elites who believe that Kohli is never going to regain his peak form, that he will never be able to make quantum shifts in his run scoring abilities. They have already concluded that Kohli is a bottom-hand dominated player and thus, with age, even a slight dip in his hand-eye coordination will affect his technique drastically.
These pundits have also cited the example of Sir Viv Richards who too batted with a similar template and his batting average suffered a great deal after a certain age. Most batters on most days bat with both the top and bottom hand. The top hand guides the ball while the bottom generates the power.
Power is central to batting in all formats. In the last IPL, Kohli used that power right from the word go. Even then, he found ways to get out. There was a time when right-arm leg spin was getting him out. Then right-arm off spin. Then left-arm seam and time and again right-arm fast. Which essentially means there is no single area of concern. There is nothing specific that is technically wrong with Kohli.
And to his credit, while the world is magnifying his technique, he hasn't changed anything that is structural to his technique. He still looks to get on top of the ball and is still looking to score. The set-up, the stance, even the footwork hasn't changed dramatically, because it is this framework that made him one of the top batters in the game.
There are monologues running in the news media right now about how the Indian team management had requested Kohli to play the West Indies tour and get back in form, while he opted to rest. The rest may do him a world of good. More often than not, bad form is more psychological than it is technical, when it comes to batting. Taking a break from the process will mean that he will spend time clearing his head.
When champions fall, they make waves; waves that wreck the world around them. Kohli isn't just a champion. He is India's greatest modern day batter. Millions who watch the sport in the country feel they own a piece of him and he must deliver every time he walks out to bat. That pressure which once fuelled his purpose to dominate the world is currently holding him back while he is out of form.
Form in batting transcends talent, preparation and even intent. Form is exclusive to the batter itself. It is so personal that it can only be measured by the player himself. Having watched Kohli for the most part after 2019, there was a phase where a part of him almost refused to accept the lean patch. But in the recent past there is a sense of acceptance that is clearly seen in a way he has gone about his business.
The greatest of players have made strong comebacks from a run drought. They did so by playing some form of domestic cricket in the past. In this day and age, all format players are expected to get back in form in international cricket itself. That is how the modern cricket calendar works. Thus, Kohli had no other option but to break away from the spotlight, breathe and refocus on becoming the best version of himself.
He is 33. 30s are supposed to be the years when a batter feels invincible because they know their game inside out and have enough experience to cope with anything that is thrown at them. Kohli isn't exactly invincible because he has been at the receiving end of some bizarre dismissals in the last couple of years. But he still knows his game thoroughly and understands that wheels of fortune will spin his way if he sticks to his process.
When Kuldeep Yadav lost his touch, the same country that rooted for him turned their heads instantly. When Kuldeep finally made his comeback, he spoke about the lack of love and respect there was and how difficult it was for him to regroup and restart.
At this point of his career, Kohli won't bat left-handed. He wouldn't suddenly start sweeping the ball and neither will he restrain himself from playing that cover drive. Fans must realise that they can't customize their perfect version of Kohli. He will only be more of Kohli whenever he returns to the white-ball arena, most probably in the Asia Cup. That will be his audition before India picks their best team for the T20 World Cup.
(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)
More From The Author | T20 World Cup 2022: India’s Fortunes Blooming In The Flower Of Its Youth