Dubai: Sport, as in life, is a great leveller. Sometimes it cuts the giants to the size of a tiny tot. History says that even the legends have gone through some of the worst phases of their sporting careers, where they forget how to win a game or how to score runs or how to bring their rivals on the mat.
There have been many such instances in recent months. Virat Kohli must have felt like tall while standing between the 22 yards and plundering the bowlers at will. But in the last few months he has been left going into a hiding, searching for answers and the missing runs, including a couple of ducks in the recent Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Mohammad Azharuddin, the former Indian skipper, who went through a similar bad run of form a few times in his illustrious career, lent support to the beleaguered Indian batter, saying: “Kohli will come good in England after the break and there’s nothing wrong with his technique. One big score or a century will bring the aggression back and he will be a different player.”
Disbelief in one’s ability
Where Kohli failed, some of the rookies like Anuj Rawat, Rajat Patidar and Mahipal Lomror have made the runs for Bangalore. It must have really hurt his pride in him, especially for one who puts a very high value for his performance on the field of play.
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with his skills but the self-doubt, which was not present earlier when the ball was shuddering to the boundary from the sweet-spot of the willow. It is this disbelief in one’s abilities that will cloud his thinking about him, finally ending up with repeated mistakes.
Every sportsman in every sphere of sports would have been through these difficult times when they eat a humble pie in front of the millions of fans who have been adoring them and elevating them to the superstar status.
It is very difficult to be in their shoes. Sometimes the opponents will score runs at will, but the batter is at play, the ball does all the tricks, making one wonder if it is the same track or a different one.
England captain Eoin Morgan, who is also having a miserable form, is facing a different situation of sorts. He has been watching his teammates plunder the hapless Netherlands attack at will, scoring a record 498/4 and 239/4 in the two One Day Internationals (ODI). A total of 737 runs were scored, but none from the bat of the England captain, who was dismissed for a duck in both the matches.
Things have not been going right for the left-hander, once feared for his big-hitting prowess, since the last two years, where he failed to score in the Indian Premier League for Kolkata Knight Riders and England in the Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE and the ODIs.
When asked about his bad run of form, Morgan, looking back at his career where he has climbed back from depths, had said: “As regards to my batting, I wouldn’t be standing here if I hadn’t come out of every bad run of form that I’d ever had.”
Hard pill to swallow
But this must have been an even harder pill to swallow for Morgan, who last scored a half-century in a white ball International almost a year ago — 75 not out against Sri Lanka on July 1 2021 in an ODI and almost a year before that knock came another 66 against Pakistan in T20. Two half-centuries in over 30-plus games is not the true reflection of his whiteball capabilities, after having scored 10,859 runs in 379 matches at an average of 35.60, that included 16 centuries in Twenty20 and ODIs included.
Despite his lack of runs, Morgan’s incredible captaincy is helping him to keep his place in the side, but how long is the big question with the Twenty20 World Cup set to be played in a few months’ time in Australia. Time is running out for the England captain to regain his lost touch.
Both Kohli and Morgan desperately need that one knock, which will bring the mojo back. Until then the search continues.