It’s hard to imagine being in Virat Kohli’s shoes. From giving up the T20 captaincy to being unceremoniously sacked as the 50-over captain, he has really seen it all within the span of a few months. Add to that, the contrasting media statements and his own lack of form; there simply hasn’t been a tougher phase in Kohli’s career than what he is facing at the moment.
Kohli has gone from being Indian cricket’s golden boy to being treated as the troublesome child. If there was ever a time that he needed someone to stand up for him, it is now. Rahul Dravid did just that. Addressing the media on the eve if the second Test match, Dravid said:
“I know there’s been a lot of noise on other issues outside of the group, even leading into this particular test match. But honestly, in terms of keeping the morale high it’s not been very difficult because it’s been led by the skipper himself. Virat has been absolutely phenomenal over the last 20 days that we’ve been here. The way he’s trained, the way he’s practised the way he’s connected with the group. He has been phenomenal and I could not speak more highly of him.”
This might come as a huge relief to the supporters of the team. Virat Kohli is still a crucial pillar in Indian cricket and the fact that he has been able to detach himself from all the noise outside is a good sign for the team.
It is his absence from any media interactions ever since his statements about his captaincy removal were contradicted by the BCCI, that has added fuel to fire. On being asked why Kohli has not addressed the media on the tour, Rahul Dravid said:
” There is no specific reason for that. I don’t decide this but I am told he will be speaking on the eve of his 100th Test. Then you can ask all the questions on his 100th Test.”
“He has truly been a fantastic leader” – Rahul Dravid on Virat Kohli
That press conference before the Cape Town Test is sure to gain a lot of attention now. Even though Virat Kohli has not been in the form of his life, his leadership has been as good as ever. On away tours within bubbles, the role of the captain grows manifold and going by what Dravid has to say, Kohli has been ticking all the right boxes in that aspect.
Nearing his 100th Test milestone, Virat Kohli would love nothing more than to silence his critics with a big score that he so often gets. However, it’s been quite some time since we saw the Virat Kohli of old. He hasn’t managed to score an international century in the last two years, raising serious doubts about his form and technique. Someone who used to smash bowling attacks for fun has now been struggling hard.
These issues with his technique have been called into question even during the first Test with him losing his wicket flashing away from his body.
“Even personally, he’s in a really good space and even though he sort of batted well and couldn’t convert those starts, I feel there’s going to be big runs, really good scores coming in from someone like him.”
“Just observing him around the group, how relaxed, how calm he has been and how he’s preparing and how switched on he is, it (big score) might happen in the next game. I would really hope it happens in the next game. But I do feel that with someone like him we are going to see really big scores,” Rahul Dravid concluded.