With failure in the 2022 Asia Cup, India’s only positive takeaway was the revival of the form of Virat Kohli. Two fifties and a century by the former skipper in the recently-concluded Asia Cup was enough to lift the spirits of the ever-supportive Indian fans. However, the question that remains is whether he can be relied on as a top-order smasher by India in the upcoming future.
Let’s look at what lies ahead for Virat Kohli and India.
Australia’s Tour of India
Virat Kohli has been included in the squad that welcomes the Aussies for a three-match T20I series, starting 20th September. This will be a crucial series for India and Kohli as they face the T20 World Champions. Virat Kohli may have smashed two fifties and a ton in the Asia Cup, but he still remains untested against the world’s best.
Kohli smashing a century against Afghanistan was his maiden T20I ton and his first in cricket in nearly three years. A serial century-smasher, Kohli’s decline was for all to see as he was fancied to equal Sachin Tendulkar’s century tally by now, if not overcome it. However, the ‘King’ finally ended his slump with an emphatic century although India bowed out of the Asia Cup.
South Africa’s Tour of India
It looks like India will waste no time resting, as the Men in Blue will welcome the Proteas just three days after hosting the Aussies, that is 28th September onwards. The South Africa tour will be a much longer and tiresome schedule as both teams will participate in a three-match T20I series, followed by a three-match ODI series.
You might be thinking, why would India have an ODI series that ends a week before the T20 World Cup? No need to worry as the BCCI announced that all the players announced for the T20 World Cup will be rested for the ODI series. This includes Virat Kohli as well. With the squad yet to be announced, it was stated that Shikhar Dhawan will lead the ODI squad.
So following the Australian series, the South African series should also fare as a testing ground for Kohli. His performance in this series will determine India’s chances in the T20 World Cup, considering he will always open at No. 3.
ICC T20 World Cup 2022
The biggest tournament on the calendar is right around the corner. India announced its squad for this much-coveted trophy in which Virat Kohli was included. At 34 years old, he is still seen as one of the most reliable players for India. Following Kohli’s impressive performance in the 2022 Asia Cup against Asia’s best, it will be instructive to see him replicate his form at the biggest stage of T20I cricket.
All eyes will be on the seniors of India, including Kohli, who will be heavily relied on, especially after his maiden century in this format. It will be too early to hype Kohli for the World Cup now. The series against Australia and South Africa will serve as a prelude to Kohli’s World Cup performance.
Recent form of Virat Kohli
Kohli has scored 276 runs in the 2022 Asia Cup, including a staggering 122* against Afghanistan and a duck against Sri Lanka in the Super Four. Compared to his form in the England series, where Kohli scored a total of just 45 in two T20I and ODI matches, it is an exponential growth by the former Indian skipper.
Amassing over six times his previous run tally in a series, Kohli’s form deserves the recognition it is getting. Virat Kohli needs to replicate his form against Australia and South Africa if we were to make assumptions for the T20 World Cup in October. Hopefully, the King is back and will give the Indian supporters what they have been wishing for.
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