Virat Kohli is in the middle of his worst IPL campaign since 2008 but he became the first man to score 6500 runs in the league’s history with a single run during Royal Challengers Bangalore’s match against Punjab Kings at the Brabourne Stadium on Friday. Besides Virat Kohli, only Shikhar Dhawan has scored more than 6000 runs in the IPL. David Warner, who moved to Delhi Capitals this season, is third on the list with 5876 runs while Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma is the fourth leading run-scorer with 5829 runs. Suresh Raina, the CSK stalwart who went unsold in the player auction this year, is fifth in the list with 5528 runs.
Virat Kohli has endured a poor run in this edition of the IPL. Before Friday, Kohli scored only 216 runs at an average of 19.64. Not since 2008, when Kohli scored his runs at an average of 15, has Kohli done so badly in any season of the IPL. His solitary half-century (against Gujarat Titans) in the tournament came at a poor strike-rate and RCB lost that game by 6 wickets. Virat Kohli has so far bagged three golden ducks in IPL 2022 including one in RCB’s last fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad. In 2016, Virat Kohli had set twin records for most runs (973) and most hundreds (4) in a single season of the Indian Premier League.
Thereafter, he scored 308 runs (2017), 530 runs (2018), 464 (2019), 466 (2020) and 405 (2021). In 2019 matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore before Friday, Kohli had scored 5 hundreds and 42 half-centuries. Virat Kohli’s poor run of form has triggered several conversations. Former India head coach Ravi Shastri said Virat Kohli should look to take a break because he looks overcooked. During the middle of the IPL in 2021, Virat Kohli had announced his decision to step down as RCB captain after the season. Shortly before that, he had already resigned as India’s T20I captain. After losing his ODI captaincy in December, Virat Kohli also decided to give up the role in Test cricket.
In a recent interview with RCB Insider, Virat Kohli said he has now seen everything and explained his smile after his second duck of the season. “First-ball ducks. After the second one (duck), I actually realised what It feels like to be like you (Mr Nags character), absolutely helpless. It hasn’t happened to me ever in my career, I think . I have seen everything now. It’s been so long, I have seen everything in this game,” Kohli said during a light-hearted chat. Despite a poor time with the bat, Virat Kohli does not pay attention to his critics. “They can’t be in my shoes. They can’t feel what I feel. They can’t live my life. They can’t live those moments.
How do you cut out the noise? You either mute the TV or don’t pay attention to what people are saying. I do both those things,” Kohli said on RCB Insider. Before the contest, Kohli was on 6.499 runs and with a single in the first over of RCB’s innings, he completed the feat. The joy was short-lived though as he was soon walking back to the dug-out after being dismissed on 20 – an innings that promised so much but like on several occasions before, failed to deliver. Kohli is in the midst of an extended slump in IPL 2022 having managed just one fifty in 13 innings so far. He has recorded three ducks as well.
The likes of Ravi Shastri and Michael Vaughan has advised Kohli to take a break and return with fresh mindset. When the legendary Sunil Gavaskar was asked what he would tell the former RCB captain to get back to his top form, he replied, “What can you tell him? He has got 70 international hundred. There is no advice to give him. Luck needs to change.” “Apart from the opposition, every other person wants to see him score runs. There are very few more attractive players in the game than Kohli in the game. When he gets going, the cut shots, the pull shots, the drives, everything is brilliant. It’s a matter of luck just going his way,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.