After missing the first ODI due to a groin injury, Virat Kohli was back in the team for the second ODI at Lord’s, but could only manage to add 16 runs before getting out to David Willey.
He has now played 77 successive innings without reaching a triple-figure and has no substantial scores to show in the four innings he played on this England tour. In the 16 games he has played this year, Kohli has amassed just over 300 runs.
The chorus to drop him out of the squad has gained intensity, with several former players questioning his credentials on the basis of his current form. However, Babar Azam, the Pakistan captain, has backed Kohli to regain his form. He posted a picture of himself with Kohli, and wrote, “This too shall pass. Stay strong.”
Azam’s playing style and run-scoring proficiency have always drawn comparisons with Kohli. While Azam still continues to be the lynchpin of his batting unit, Kohli’s slump in the last three years has made him a liability. Azam, meanwhile, is ranked No. 1 in both T20I and ODI, and fourth in Test.
Kohli was still leading the side when India and Pakistan met last time, in the ICC T20I World Cup while Azam will be back in the action this month, as his team takes on Sri Lanka in the two-match Test series.
On Thursday, Kohli overcame a jittery start before playing two straight drives and his trademark cover drive. Just when things started clicking, Kohli ended up throwing away his wicket by edging it behind the stumps. He could have easily left the ball or could have successfully blocked it in front had he not committed to his front foot.
India could never recover from the early setbacks, getting bundled out for 146 while chasing a modest target of 246. None of their batters managed more than 30 runs, while Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma walked back for ducks. The series is now levelled at 1-1, with the decider to be played in Manchester, on 17 July.
Featured Image Credit: ICC