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Innocent Admission

Off-form Kohli’s Test century drought continues

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New Delhi, June 25, 2021 (Agency) India captain Virat Kohli’s batting form in Test matches and One-day Internationals has dipped over one-and-a-half years. His last Test century, which was also his last international ton, came way back in November 2019, against Bangladesh, and since then he has averaged an abysmal 24.64 in Test matches. He has, however, fared better in in ODIs at 43.26.

Kohli, who is well-placed to end his career as the player with most Test centuries – he is just six short of Sachin Tendulkar’s 49 ODI tons – endured the year 2020 as the first calendar year of his international career since 2008 without a triple figure mark.

Since his November 2019 Test ton against Bangladesh, he has managed just three half-centuries in eight Test matches. The 24.64 Test average in this phase in 14 innings is well below his career average of 52.04.

Kohli hasn’t looked out of sorts. His two half-centuries (72 and 62) in the first two Test matches against England in Chennai this year came in difficult situations and on pitches that were tough to bat on. His other half-century, in the first Test in Adelaide, helped India gain a first innings lead before India caved in for 36 in the second innings.

In the 15 One-day Internationals he has played since November 2019 Test century against Bangladesh, Kohli has scored 649 runs averaging 43.26 (as against a career average of 59.07). Unlike in Tests, he has been more consistent, scoring eight half-centuries, but he has failed to get a Test century.

Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar, who was with the team as recently as the 2019 World Cup, has said that a century drought could be playing on his mind but said that he could overcome it.

“He has already scored close to 7,500 Test runs, and this is a format, where he just simply gives it his all,” said Bangar on a channel.

“To get over the century drought — which may have been playing on his mind — is something that he would look ahead to, I think. The way he has batted in the first innings was a clear indication of the kind of touch and the kind of rhythm that he was in. So, I think it augurs well for the Indian team,” added Bangar.

However, T20 is the only format at international level in which Kohli has improved over his career average in the period. He has aggregated 709 runs at an average of over 64.45 in the period since his last Test ton. His career average in T20Is is 52.65.

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