Virat Kohli rested for the New Zealand Series: What went wrong?

Image Credit: Circle of Cricket

After India’s end to the World Cup campaign following their irrelevant win against Namibia, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) revealed their squad for the upcoming bilateral series between India and New Zealand on home soil, in the second half of November.

Leading the Indian squad as the captain Rohit Sharma will have some rather interesting and upcoming names to command against the Black Caps, including CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, KKR hitter Venkatesh Iyer and an in-form Yuzvendra Chahal alongside the dark horse of white-ball cricket in India, Ravichandran Ashwin.

However, the biggest name of them all, Virat Kohli was nowhere to be found in the squad and it was later declared that the former skipper was given some time off the field to unwind after a disappointing end to his tenure as the team leader following the World Cup debacle.

Virat Kohli has the best ever Test, ODI and Twenty20 International rating of any Indian batsman. Kohli is a chase master and has the highest number of centuries in run-chases in the world. He is also the fastest batsman to 10,000 and 11,000 runs in ODI cricket having achieved the milestones in 205 and 222 innings respectively.

There is something about crunch ICC matches that seems to trouble Kohli. And the sample size isn’t small enough to ignore this anomaly in his grand career. At the end of the day, it’s how many key clashes you have won for the team that matters.

While a lot of question marks have been raised on Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s form, Kohli’s Test numbers over the last few months have been equally poor. Of course, he has displayed a lot more consistency than the other two over the years. But carbon copy dismissals against England are a cause for concern. Kohli is the fittest cricketer around, a few more failures and the clock will start ticking for him as well.

Virat Kohli Stats As Captain In Test:

Matches played: 65

Wins: 38

Loss: 16

Draw: 11

Win %: 58.46

Virat Kohli Stats As Captain In ODI:

Match played: 95

Wins: 65

Losses: 27

Tied: 1

No Results: 2

Win %: 70.43

Virat Kohli Stats As Captain In T20I

Matches played: 50

Wins: 30

Losses: 16

Tied: 2

No results: 2

Win %: 64.58

BCCI & Virat Kohli

Kohli has not scored an international hundred since November 2019. His clock has been stuck on 70 centuries, refusing to tick further. Under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, India has attended the ‘Choker’ tag for losing in the semifinals and finals of key tournaments. He has neither been able to win an ICC trophy for India nor has his captaincy resulted in an IPL trophy victory for his franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The clock had started to tick in 2019 when Sourav Ganguly took over. At the time, he had sternly reminded Kohli that he needed to win an ICC trophy. Ganguly said, “My only thing is that they need to win big tournaments. They are not going to win every time but they have gone through seven tournaments without winning one,” Now, Ganguly is vouching for Rohit Sharma as India’s next captain.

After his elevation as the BCCI president, Ganguly has brought in an air of discipline in the functioning style of the board as well as the cricket team. Being an ex-captain, he recognised Kohli’s problems regarding his workload. Ganguly understood that Kohli has a new responsibility of being a father and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is almost impossible with the workload of captaincy in all formats. The introduction of cool-headed MS Dhoni as a mentor to the Indian cricket team in this T20 world cup is an indication of how Ganguly’s experience as a player and an administrator is proving to be a boon for India.

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