Virat Kohli made 79 runs off 201 balls in the third Test match against South Africa before getting dismissed. It was his highest score in the last 26 innings in Test cricket. Kohli last scored a century in November 2019. He showed enough discipline during the third Test match against South Africa but perished due to the lack of support from the other end.
Kohli showed a glimpse of the way he used to treat bowlers before his lean patch. In the last couple of innings, he struggled to face the deliveries bowled outside of the off-stump. But, that was not the case in this game as he was playing everything with perfection. His innings earned him applause from the same people who were criticizing him for his technique and game awareness.
Kohli did show that he might have found the right recipe and the 71st century is just a matter of a few innings. The way Kohli played during the first innings, it is clear that he is not too far away from a century. Here are the three reasons to believe that Kohli might be able to reach the three-figure mark very soon.
1- Virat Kohli has scored a considerable amount of runs in the last two years
Although, Kohli has not scored a century since November 2019, he has played some decent innings which have helped India win matches across all the formats. In Test cricket, he made 536 runs in 19 innings at an average of 28.21 in 2021. He made four half-centuries and was dismissed for a single-digit score on just five occasions.
Since scoring his last ODI century, Kohli has scored eight half-centuries in 15 innings. In 2020, he was dismissed on 89 runs on two occasions. In 2021, he scored two half-centuries in three matches that he played. He made 295 runs in 10 T20Is in 2020 and made one half-century. In the year 2021, Kohli played in ten matches and went on to score 299 runs at an astonishing average of 74.75. During England’s tour of India in 2021, Kohli was the leading run-scorer in T20Is and was the only batter to score over 200 runs in the five matches.
In the last two seasons of IPL, Kohli has made 871 runs in 30 matches at an average of 35.64 and a strike rate of 120.4. He has made six half-centuries. It can be clearly seen that Kohli is not completely out of touch and a century shouldn’t be too far away.
2- South Africa series will be followed by home series against Sri Lanka and West Indies
India’s tour of South Africa is not over yet, India will bat in the second innings and maybe a miracle might happen during that time. If it doesn’t happen, then there are three ODIs against the Proteas where Kohli can do something that we all have waited for a long time. Kohli likes to play in South African conditions, at least this is what his record suggests. He has made 877 runs in 17 ODIs at an average of 87.70 in South Africa, including three centuries and four half-centuries.
After returning from South Africa, India will host West Indies for three ODIs and three T20Is. West Indies are the opponent against whom Kohli has made the most number of runs in ODIs. He has scored 2235 runs in 39 ODIs at an average of 72.09.
Kohli has made nine centuries and 11 half-centuries against West Indies. In T20Is, he has made 501 runs in 12 matches at an average of 62.62, which includes his highest score in T20Is (94 not out).
Following the West Indies tour, Sri Lanka will land on Indian soil to play two Test matches and three T20Is. Kohli has scored 1004 runs in nine Test matches against Sri Lanka at an average of 77.23 and has made five centuries and two half-centuries. In T20Is, Kohli has made 339 runs in six innings, which contain a total of four half-centuries.
3 – There is no extra pressure of captaincy on Virat Kohli for the first time in the last couple of years
Kohli was sacked as the captain of the ODI team by the selectors and it created a massive controversy. It was a clear case of a lack of communication between the board and Kohli. But, both parties have moved away from that topic.
This might come as a blessing in disguise for Kohli because in limited-overs, he can now focus only on his batting which was not the case previously. He will not have the extra pressure of captaining the side and hence, can play the way he likes to play.
The upcoming series against South Africa will be the first for Kohli as a player after captaining the side for almost five years. Kohli might show a glimpse of how he used to dominate the opponents before he was appointed the captain of the Indian cricket team.