Technique, Confidence or Injury? What's Ailing Indian Cricket Team's Star Batter Virat Kohli

© AP Photo / Ajit SolankiIndia's Virat Kohli bats during a practice session
India's Virat Kohli bats during a practice session - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.04.2022
Widely considered as one of the modern-day greats and arguably the best all-format player ever, Indian cricketer Virat Kohli's stock has plummeted considerably in recent times. While he has not scored a hundred at the international level since November 2019, he's yet to light up the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) with the bat.
In 2021, Virat Kohli finished another year without a ton in any form of cricket - international or domestic. It has been more than 29 months since the star batsman made a three-figure score in the sport.
Last month, even his Test average dropped to under 50 for the first time since August 2017. Kohli now averages 49.95 in the game's longest format.
But what is a worrying sign for Indian cricket lovers is that his struggles have also now surfaced in the Indian Premier League (IPL) -- the professional men's Twenty20 cricket league, contested by ten teams based out of as many Indian cities.
In the current edition of the tournament, Kohli has managed to put up scores of 41, 12, 5, 48 and 1 in five games, and is yet to go past fifty.
Kohli's present problems with consistency or the lack of it is in stark contrast to the pre-2019 era.
Before the aforementioned year, Kohli was a century-making machine, considering he was the fastest ever to hit the mark of 70 international centuries.
His ability to pile runs, and make huge scores was even quite visible in the tournament. Till date, Kohli remains the only batter to go past 900 runs in a season in the competition, a feat he accomplished back in 2016.
So, what happened to the cricketer that he started to even struggle for runs and not just centuries?
Many experts believe Kohli's issues are due to a combination of reasons, including technique, confidence, and fitness.
According to former Delhi Capitals media manager G. Rajaraman, who also runs the popular sports website Circle of Sport, Kohli's problems are largely "technical."
"Whatever Kohli is facing is a technical issue. He's been getting out to the ball outside the off stump, while driving it to the covers, nicking it to the slips or getting caught behind on a number of occasions," he told Sputnik.
"But to sort out this technical issue, he needs to spend a lot of time in the nets. Kohli though doesn't have the bandwidth to work on his batting technique because there's no break in cricket now as one tournament goes and another comes," he added.
On the other hand, ex-India spinner Gopal Sharma claimed that it was the non-existence of confidence which was playing havoc on Kohli's mind at the moment.
As the 33-year-old hasn't made a big 100 for a long time, Kohli no longer is as focused as he once was during his prime and that's the main reason behind his struggles.
"Kohli has lost the trust in his batting. He looks tentative at the crease and even has doubts while leaving the ball. This doubtfulness or the lack of confidence is hurting him big time," Sharma shared with Sputnik.
Fitness may be another factor in Kohli's problems. Known for his maintaining a very high standard, the Delhi-born cricketer has been nursing a back injury for the past few years, which comes back to haunt him every now and then.
Earlier this year, during India's tour of South Africa, the former Indian captain pulled out of a Test match because of the same problem, and was seen sporting a red warm vest in the next match to prevent the issue from escalating.
Yet his barren run continued and the solutions are nowhere to be seen. Can he make a comeback in the current IPL? Only time will tell.
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