Virat Kohli’s recent form has attracted lots of criticism from fans, former players, and commentators. Having said this, there has been an outpouring of support for arguably one of the greatest players of the modern era.
Criticism of his batting form is surrounding Virat nowadays but if you were following cricket from 2008 you would’ve only heard praises about his batting form till 2019. there weren’t many criticisms of his batting as he didn’t have a long patch of bad form in his career like he is facing right now.
“You can't just go by reputation, but you have to look for the current form. If world No. 2 Test bowler Ashwin can be dropped from the Test side then your No. 1 batter(Virat Kohli) can also be dropped” these are the words quoted by First World Cup Winning Captain of India, Kapil Dev. Statements like this are being made by our very own Indian cricketing legends and journalists during Virat’s poor form but his arch-rival team players like Jos Buttler (white ball captain of England Cricket team) and Babar Azam (captain of Pakistan cricket team) are supporting Virat during this tough phase that he is currently going through in his career.
Sometimes we as an audience forget that sportspersons are also humans and can go through ups and downs in their careers. We tend to support them when they are performing well and they are at their peak and instantly reject them for what they have done in their past and just want them to be replaced by another player.
Let’s take you back to 18th December 2006 when Virat was 18 years old he lost his true supporter, his Father who was standing through thick and thin with Virat from his childhood days and supported him to play cricket. Just to fulfill his father’s dream he played a Ranji match for his team Delhi against Karnataka on the very next day of his father’s funeral. He went on to score crucial 90 runs for his team in that match.
This shows extreme professionalism and the mental capacity that he had from a very young age.
2008 for him was an eventful year as a 19-year-old Virat Kohli led India towards winning the U-19 cricket world cup that was played in Malaysia. After winning the U-19 world cup as a captain, there was no stop to his rise as a batter. IPL (Indian Premier League ) was formed in the same year, as a T-20 tournament. Virat Kohli was amongst the top young players to be part of the IPL and was selected by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in that auction that happened before the tournament started.
Later on 18th August, He made his One Day International debut against Sri Lanka. He had a good run from 2008 to 2011 and played some great innings during that period. Hence, he was selected for the 50 world cup that was to be played in India. He was one of the very few youngsters that were selected for the squad. India went on to win that world cup. In the finals against Sri Lanka, Virat scored valuable 35 runs. ‘’35 in the 2011 World Cup final was the most valuable 35 I’ve scored in my cricketing career. I was happy to bring the team back on track and contribute in whatever way I could. The crowd atmosphere was surreal, it’s very fresh in our memories’’ - Virat Kohli ( in an interview).
After the 2011 world cup, comparisons were made between Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli was deemed to be the next big thing from India and He didn't disappoint cricket fans all around the world in doing so.
The baton of being the best batter of team India in all formats was swiftly passed from Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli
Fans everywhere debate to date about him being better than Sachin Tendulkar or not and if he'll be able to score more centuries than Sachin.
Sachin in a candid interview back in 2013 had said "I see many youngsters in the back. They can break my record. Virat (Kohli) is one of them. As long as an Indian breaks my record, I don’t mind.”
After Sachin retired in 2013, the debates never stopped but a new conversation about Virat Kohli being the next Indian captain had begun.
At that time his guide and a person backed him always on and off the field, MS Dhoni was the captain, and next year in 2014 when India went to England for a test series, Kohli endured a disastrous outing on the tour of England, where he registered scores of 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0, 7, 6, and 20 in five Tests at an average of 13.50 in 10 innings. After this he was criticized for his batting technique and so-called "arrogant attitude" but MS Dhoni backed him in team selection and press conferences.
Virat got a lot of backlash from fans all around the world but he proved that he is not going back down anytime soon, he regained confidence and Virat Kohli was in scintillating form during India’s tour of Australia in 2014-15.
He scored 692 runs in 8 innings at an average of 86.5 including four hundred and one fifty. In this tour, our beloved captain MS Dhoni took an untimely retirement from Test cricket and passed on the captaincy to Virat Kohli.
In a recent video interaction with Ravichandran Ashwin, Kohli spoke about the role of MS Dhoni in shaping him as a leader.
“A large portion of me becoming the captain was because of him observing me. He played a big role in that. That trust doesn’t happen overnight.” Kohli told Ashwin.
After getting the captaincy, He enforced the aggressive mentality in the long format and brought back the legacy of the Indian cricket team in test cricket as he focused on bowler's aspects and the Indian cricket team got more wins than draws compared to what we were getting under previous captains.
Then came 2016, The year of Virat Kohli
12 TESTS - 1215 runs, 10 ODIs - 739 runs
15 T20Is - 641 runs.
Total runs - 3568 Avg - 84.95
During the 2016 edition of IPL Former Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli, with the assistance of 7 half-centuries and 4 centuries, had amassed a total of 973 runs across 16 innings at an unbelievable average coupled with the strike rate of 81.08 and 152.03 respectively. This is the most number of runs scored by any player in IPL and still, nobody has managed to surpass this record.
In 2017, The most successful white ball captain for India, MS Dhoni step down as the white ball captain and passed the responsibility of the white-ball captaincy to Virat Kohli. In that year, Virat cemented himself as the No.1 ICC batter in all formats and also became the ICC player of the year.
Virat Kohli scored an incredible 2735 runs in international cricket in 2018. He was the highest run-scorer in both Tests and One-Day Internationals with 1322 and 1202 runs respectively. The peak of Kohli.
Kohli scored 1,377 runs in 26 ODIs, 612 runs in eight Tests, and 466 runs in 10 T20Is in 2019. Rohit Sharma scored 1,490 runs in 28 ODIs, 556 runs in five Tests, and 396 runs in 14 T20Is in the year. Indian skipper Virat Kohli led Team India to a historic win over Australia Down Under at the start of 2019. Apart from that, he also became the quickest batsman to score 20,000 runs in international cricket.
Midway through the year in July, the Indian cricket team had a great run in the 50-over ICC world cup (hosted by England) which ended in a gut-wrenching defeat against their arch-rivals New Zealand which was led by Captain Kane Williamson. Virat - the captain was criticized for this failure despite his good display of captaincy throughout the tournament. Then came the year of Covid-19, in 2020 as covid was on the rise, Virat’s form was falling.
Though Virat Kohli played only 6 test matches, 9 T20i, and 9 ODI with many disappointing innings.
His downfall was arriving and a lot of cricket experts started predicting the same, with a lot of mental pressure and hate comments from everywhere, Virat always had the pressure of performing well. He was in a situation where his past greatness was coming to haunt him because now even if he lost his wicket on 70-80 runs, people were disappointed as they expected their hero to score 100+ runs in every match.
Maybe it’s not their mistake as well because the years 2016-2019 made us believe that this man could score a century even while sleeping. Getting to 70 centuries in 11 years is not a task that any player can do and now we haven’t seen a century from him in the last 3 years.
On 16 September 2021, one month before the ICC T20 WC 2021, he announced his decision to step down as the Indian Men's international T20 team captain to reequip his energies into leading the side in ODI's and Tests. He shortly stepped down as the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Bangalore-based IPL Team he led since 2013. Both were decisions that many argued to be ill-timed but good ones as they would liberate him to rediscover his batting form, which had not been so great since November 2019. Kohli has achieved what no other captain has been able to achieve.
The stats say it all:-
◦ Tests: Total: 66, Won: 39, Lost: 16,
◦ ODIs: Matches: 95, Won: 65, Lost: 27,
◦ T2oIs: Matches: 50, Won: 30, Lost: 16,
With a winning percentage of 63.38 in 213 matches across formats as captain, he will go down in the books of cricket history as one of the best captains and batters to have played the game. Virat has left behind a well-oiled team that can churn out victories both home and away as he steps away from captaincy across all formats. His aggressive and in-your-face captaincy molded the team in his mold. His drive for fitness has made India one of the fittest and the best fielding sides globally.
Since 2021, His batting form has been at an all-time low, Kohli finished 2021 with 536 runs in 11 matches at a paltry average of 28.21 which is in stark contrast to his career average of 50.34. Everyone around the world is always speculating whether Virat would be playing for India in future matches or not with the frequent breaks that he has been taking making everyone scared that he might one day announce his retirement in silence, We as fans loved him throughout his good time and need to support him even at his worst. Any sportsperson needs support from their fans because in today’s time of social media even they read what people say about them now and then which takes a toll on their confidence, a statement made by Vivek Razdan, an Indian commentator sums it all up, “agar magar kaash mein hun mai khud apni taalash mein hun, aisa hai yeh waqt Virat ke liye “