Virat Kohli wait was significantly shorter than a year and four days From March 2011 to March 2012, people eagerly awaited Sachin Tendulkar. He was close to attaining a feat unparalleled in world cricket: 100 international centuries. Although cricket stats are normally the domain of aficionados, this one had gained traction and moved beyond the die-hard fans, infiltrating society at large. For 33 innings, anticipation grew every time Tendulkar took to the crease yet failed to reach his goal, driving everyone into unparalleled frustration.
Wait was significantly shorter than a year and four days. Upon succeeding Tendulkar as the focus of India’s batting universe, he churned out hundreds consistently. The longest break in his Test career was eight months, however in all formats he frequently managed back to back centuries; at one point even achieving a consecutive four within five innings. In just over 10 years he scored an incredible 70 centuries.
After a year, Virat Kohli stopped without apparent reason. He kept making starts, scored, some of them big, some unbeaten. He just couldn’t get a hundred – the man whose greatest skill had been converting them to this point. The streak spanned 83 innings and 26 of them he scored half-centuries. However, he couldn’t cross the finish line.
Virat Kohli shouldn’t make a difference. A random figure of one hundred means nothing in reality. But batters understand that this is the measure by which they are mainly evaluated, so it clearly matters to them. Virat Kohli certainly gets into their minds and impacts their mentality, consequently influencing their play style. After a long spell of unsuccessful runs across all formats, the drought finally ended in September 2022 when there was a T20 century scored against Afghanistan as part of the preparations for the World Cup. Unfortunately, things didn’t change much in Test cricket; his drought persisted with 42 innings across 24 Tests without a century.
India now has Kohli without that monkey on his back
Finally, in Ahmedabad on Sunday in the fourth and final Test against Australia, Virat Kohli ended. After starting on 59 and finishing on 186, Kohli misfired a shot at 200 as he ran out of partners. It was an innings of discipline more than stroke play, batting mostly all day in enervating heat. On a pitch where 19 wickets fell in four days, the innings was also strangely lacking in ambition.
After years of disappointment, anxiety was an obstacle to overcome, even if he had been standing with a racket in hand. The pressure mounted, as he had just one opportunity on a batting pitch after being challenged by turners throughout the series. Fortunately for Kohli, India won’t need to win this last Test match as they have already taken the lead in the series. A draw may jeopardize their chances at the World Test Championship final, however Virat Kohli highly improbable that Sri Lanka will manage to come out victorious against New Zealand 2-0.
As a result of the match situation
Ravindra Jadeja was 309 for four at the end of his fourth over, still 171 runs behind Australia’s first innings, leaving only the wicketkeeper and lower order for company after Shreyas Iyer withdrew injured. In order to end any chance of losing, India needed Kohli to bat long enough.
When taking runs off Australia would have been the fastest way to reduce risk, going stonewall made less sense than going stonewall. Kohli scored 12 runs in 22 overs before Jadeja was out and scored 41 runs in 39 overs to reach his hundred. There were few close catchers, gaps to boundary riders, and a surface offering negligible turn, but blocking spin straight back down the pitch was the mode of play.
Unlikely to have suffered the same fate twice if Australia batted long enough to set a target, while giving India an opportunity to exert pressure on Australia with the ball. On surfaces like this, you need to push the game forward if you want a result.
Instead Kohli was able to concentrate on his personal achievements in what was the best situation to do so. As the milestone arrived, he acknowledged that it was a low-octane performance. Offering only a measured wave and kissing his wedding ring before going back to work.
Kohli only hit his first boundary after 42 overs had gone by, but afterwards he stroked ten fours in 25 overs. A couple of them particularly stylish. However, when Axar Patel began to score sixes Kohli reverted to singles. Then when Axar was out of the game Kohli continued taking single runs. India had the advantage and thus scoring a double century became his only focus. He’d already faced 340 balls for 177 runs yet still hadn’t quite got there. Unbeknownst to him, his batting resources were dwindling at the other end, something that caught him unawares.
By the time Kohli came to try and take charge. He was quite alone at the crease with nine fielders close by. Yet his signature move of a two-run bunt. Successful in so many T20 runs after run-chases, backfired on him when it ran out Umesh Yadav. His first attempt at hitting a boundary was dropped, and the second held in the deep. Trying to step up a gear had only ended in failure this time. His innings had been full of patience, immaculate technique and occasional bits of brilliance. Yet here’s hoping that his next effort can be much more illustrious.