Can Virat Kohli regain his form in the second innings at Leeds?

Indian captain Virat Kohli. (AFP)
Indian captain Virat Kohli. (AFP)

Dubai - Former England captain Michael Vaughan has suggested that Kohli has lost sight of his off stump

By Arsh Asthana

Published: Fri 27 Aug 2021, 12:22 AM

Virat Kohli, hailed as one of crickets greatest batsmen, seems to have hit a lean patch, particularly in Test cricket over the last few months.

The Indian captain has scored just 49 runs so far in their series against England, with his most recent dismissal being against old nemesis James Anderson, making only seven runs.

This dismissal also marks his 50th innings since Kohli has made an international century, with his last hundred coming against Bangladesh in 2019 during a day and night Test.

Kohli has struggled on England soil, with his highest score in this series coming at Lords during the second Test, scoring 42 from 103 deliveries. During the second innings in the same Test, he tried to play quicker, scoring 20 runs off 31 balls and hitting four boundaries in the process.

Since his last Test century in Kolkata, Kohli has had five innings with a score of less than ten runs and two ducks, which includes a golden duck during the first Test against England where he was dismissed by James Anderson.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has suggested that Kohli has lost sight of his off stump during India’s current series against England.

"Really good bowling, not good batting. Virat Kohli is a better player than that. When he had success in English conditions, he was knowing exactly where his off-stump is. His trigger movement goes over to the off-stump and he knows where it is," Vaughan said during BBC's Test Match Special podcast.

“So far in this series, I just wonder whether he lost his off-stump because he is going over quite a long way and his head is going with him because of that, I think he thinks his off-stump is around the fourth and fifth stump line. He needs to get back into alignment," he added.

Kohli’s recent struggles could also be attributed to his lapse in concentration and loose shots.

His recent batting style suggests that he is enticed by deliveries that should be left alone or deliveries that should be played a little late. This results in him being caught behind to the keeper or finding the slip, the most recent example being his first innings dismissal during the second Test against England, where he edged Ollie Robinson's delivery to Joe Root at first slip.

Kohli’s recent poor run of form has seen him drop to the fifth spot in the latest ICC Test rankings for batsmen, with Root moving to second after hitting back-to-back centuries against India.

Kohli is currently sitting on 70 international centuries, with many legends tipping him to break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of hundred centuries. Indian legend Virender Sehwag said he believes Kohli will break all of Sachin's records except his 200 Test match appearances, during an interview with Times of India in 2019.

"At the moment, Virat (Kohli) is the best batsman. The way he is scoring runs, he is the best. I am sure he will break most of Sachin Tendulkar’s records,” he said.

It remains to be seen if Kohli, 32, can regain his spark when India come out to bat against England in the second innings of the third Test on Friday.

With India facing a big defeat in Leeds, Kohli's return to form could lift Indian fans' spirit.

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