Shoaib Akhtar has failed to understand the hate Virat Kohli is getting amid his failures.

The BCCI and the Indian team management must find an alternative to the Virat Kohli problem plaguing Team India. Since November 2019, Kohli is yet to register a century across formats. His runs have dried up tremendously. In the ongoing tour of England, Kohli has not been able to offer any substance in Tests, T20Is, and now the ODIs. Expectations are huge, and he has failed to carry on despite starting positively. 

His presence in the side also alters India’s options as other players then need to vacate their places. The rut with Kohli has been going on for too long, and in between, there was this saga of him being removed as captain, besides his wish to step aside as the Test team skipper. However, this has also brought no luck as runs and match-winning knocks continue to evade the 33-year-old. Here we analyze Kohli and why he needs to be dropped for his betterment.

An average of 11.8 on this tour

The rescheduled fifth Test saw Kohli manage scores of 11 and 20 as India lost the match to be held 2-2. In the first innings, he was caught in two minds about whether to leave the ball or not, and a late withdrawal of the willow saw him get bowled. He looked good for his 20 in the second innings, but extra bounce had him nick the ball. Kohli then played two T20Is, and the plan was to go on the aggressive route. The plan failed as he managed 1 and 11. He was nowhere in sync with his shot against the balls to throw his wicket away in both matches. And now, in the second ODI, he perished for another cheap 16, poking at a delivery outside off. Across five innings in three different formats, Kohli averages 11.8 on this tour.

Last century came in November 2019

Kohli’s last ton was in November 2019 in the D/N Test between India and Bangladesh. Since then, he has played 32 Test innings, scoring no centuries. Notably, 15 innings have seen Kohli score below 20 runs. He has four ducks in this phase and just four centuries to showcase. His numbers are better, though, in ODIs. Across 22 ODI innings, he has hammered 10 fifties. However, there have been 10 innings with scores reading below 20. In T20Is, he has played 24 innings, with 10 of them producing knocks below 20.

Pattern of dismissals

Kohli’s major issue has been fending for balls outside the off stump. There are serious technical issues here. Balls around the off-stump channel that can be left alone have seen Kohli poking at them to edge the ball. When a player is low on confidence, he often wants to feel every ball, and in that attempt, the wicket goes. It has been long, and Kohli has failed to banish this poor technique.

What are the words coming from the outside?

Recently, Kapil Dev said that Kohli might be forced to sit on the bench in T20Is given the ICC T20 World Cup is to be held this year. He backed his idea by highlighting R Ashwin being benched during India’s away matches in SENA. Indian skipper Rohit Sharma has come out defending the player, saying Kapil is speaking from the outside and that the team is backing Kohli and one shouldn’t forget his past heroics.

Other players are suffering because of Kohli

When Kohli returned to the T20I side in the second encounter, an in-form Deepak Hooda was forced to vacate his place for no reason whatsoever. Hooda was in full mode against Ireland recently and looked sharp in the first T20I versus England. He would be feeling gutted. Similarly, Shreyas Iyer was dropped to the bench in the second ODI after Kohli returned following a groin injury. How long will this keep going on?

Too many rests

Another major problem around Kohli is he is being rested far too often, and when a player is out of form, he should play more and work harder to find runs. Kohli is again set to miss the limited-overs tour of the West Indies. Time and time again, he asks for rest, and the BCCI has obliged his wishes. This sends the wrong message and doesn’t help anyone.

Management should send a strong message

Kohli needs to play and get his form back. He cannot keep choosing which tournaments he wants to be a part of. The management should drop Kohli and perhaps ask him to play domestic cricket and work his way through. There is no shame in doing that. Nor Kohli’s ego should be entertained here. He can also be a part of County Cricket and toil his way through like Cheteshwar Pujara. If Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, etc. can be dropped, why not Kohli?

Kohli is a solid customer, but India need someone to carry the side, and his lack of substance in the middle is hurting the cause. It’s time Kohli is dropped, and a message is sent to one and all. Perform or perish!

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