Former England captain Geoffrey Boycott has criticized Virat Kohli sharply after the Indian vice-captain continued to struggle in the ongoing tour of England. Already under pressure for a run of poor scores in the Test series, Kohli attempted to hit his way out of bad form in the second ODI at Cardiff and perished to Chris Woakes for a three-ball duck. (Also read: Rohit Sharma ruled out of remainder of England tour due to fractured finger)
Kohli had gone into the game with a sense of bravado. After smashing a fluent 71 in a warm-up match against Middlesex, Kohli promised to play his aggressive brand of cricket, that has helped him score 19 ODI hundreds so far. The format is his favourite and has been the most productive one for him. In the modern game, there are few players who can match Kohli's appetite for runs. (Virat Kohli will be a 'Future Test Great')
"The Test series was a bit difficult. In a five-game series when you don't get going and you keep getting out, it is pretty difficult to comeback," Kohli had told Sky Sports before the match. "We got a few days off, had a good practice game, got a few runs there. This format has always been where I express myself, don't think too much, don't pressurize myself too much. Just going to go out there, I back myself and play some aggressive cricket."
However, Kohli's attitude did not pay off this time. He must have backed his talent to play some audacious shots early on, but it was this audacity that brought him more failure. Boycott, who is now a respected commentator of the game, was aghast that a batsman of his capabilities could repeat basic mistakes. (India look to continue winning run in 3rd ODI)
"It was clearly the shot of a man not thinking straight, one whose brain has been scrambled. Kohli has had a rotten time in the Tests, and he must now look beyond that and use his brains to get out of trouble, because talent is no good without intelligence, and Kohli is too talented a player to waste his time and energy in such a manner," Boycott wrote on go.cricket.com. (Interesting read: Falcon bats: Bowler's envy, batsman's pride)
"It seems really strange that a batsman as talented as he is, thinks he has to slog from the word go. At this level of any sport, a lot of the corrections and rectifications come from the player himself, rather than from a coach or manager. It is fair to assume that you are capable of correcting the basics, with the occasional expert tip to help you along. So Kohli needs to rethink his approach, calm himself down, and play the game he is used to playing, rather than try to prove a point with every shot."
It is easier said than done, of course. Kohli has recorded all his ten ODI ducks, batting at number three, a position that he has made his own otherwise. There are no chances of him being moved up to open or shuffled down the batting-order. Therefore, he will have to come back to form at that critical position even when India lose an early wicket.
Kohli has never had such an extended period of bad form. The Delhi batsman has looked India's best at home and in challenging conditions in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Therefore, the horror run, which started in the Test series in England, has left observers baffled. He was also under fire from certain quarters over Bollywood star and girlfriend Anushka Sharma's presence.
If Kohli has to come back to form, he could be expected to spend time with former India skipper and current team director Ravi Shastri, who had helped Suresh Raina with valuable tips that helped that the left-handed batsman to score a match-winning hundred.