The year 2020 has been unusual to say the least. The Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to its knees and almost every walk of life was disrupted by its deadly spread. Sports was no exception. In cricket the disruptions caused by the pandemic changed a lot of things.
For Indian cricket it has come at a price. India’s most consistent batsman across all formats hasn’t had the best year. The juggernaut named Virat Kohli has endured his worst calendar year in a decade, so far, in terms of batting average.
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Kohli has so far played 22 innings in 2020, which is the least he has ever in a year since 2010, and he averages a rather pedestrian 36.38 across all formats. Remember these also include T20s and we are calling this average pedestrian only in comparison with Kohli’s otherwise lofty standards. More importantly, the man known for his insatiable hunger for centuries hasn’t touched the three-figure mark even once this year.
But all that could change when he leads India out in their first ever day-night Test match on Australian soil, in Adelaide, from Thursday. It is the only Test he will play on the tour before returning home for the birth of his first child and he has two innings to make amends to his 2020 numbers.
Those who know Kohli, would know how desperate he would be get a big score in Adelaide. He has matured over the years and perhaps won’t say it or show it, but Kohli’s desire to make a statement with a bat in hand is instinctive and the Indian captain will go for it against some of the best pace bowlers in the world.
But to do that he needs to break a jinx of sorts. Kohli has struggled to get going in the first Test match of a series over the past 5 series. He has in fact been even worse in the 1st team innings of a Test match since 2017, registering single digit scores in 8 out of 11 innings.
Kohli though has been impervious when touring outside the sub-continent, with New Zealand earlier this year being the only blip in the radar.
But if his record in Australia is anything to go by, the Indian captain is expected to be at his best come December 17 . He averages a glorious 55.39 in 12 matches in Australia with six centuries and three half-centuries to his credit and three out of those six centuries have come at Adelaide.
So Australia, beware!