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When will Kohli scratch three-year itch?

Virat Kohli is one of the most recognizable figures in sport, not just cricket, with seemingly superhuman exploits on the field allowing him to establish a level of celebrity that few to have wielded a bat can ever claim to have enjoyed.

A national icon to millions in India now boasts a global profile that transcends his chosen profession, with people from Mumbai to Melbourne via Manchester and Miami able to pick him out of a line-up. Such a standing can be both a blessing and a curse, with there nowhere for such illustrious figures to hide.

When it comes to his day job, Kohli has found a weighty burden of expectation a little difficult to carry of late. He can always be relied upon to score runs, but boots have not been filled as regularly as they once were.

Spark

He will, quite rightly, point out that he is only ever one innings away from finding a spark, with cricket odds pricing India at +333 for T20 World Cup glory in 2022 and +250 to go all the way at a 50-over event on home soil in 2023.

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Unsurprisingly, Australia are the favorites according the T20 World Cup odds, priced at +150, but nothing is guaranteed. 

If Kohli goes well in either, or both, of those competitions then major silverware can be expected to fall well within reach. He is a man accustomed to setting the loftiest of standards and has never been one to settle for second best.

There is, however, no escaping the fact that he has been fluffing personal lines far too frequently in a Test arena of late. He started the calendar year positively enough, with 79 recorded during the first innings of a meeting with South Africa in Cape Town.

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He has failed to record a Test half-century since, with just 220 runs in total posted across seven stints in the middle, at an average of 31.42. His career average in the longest format of the game has now dipped below 50, which would have been unthinkable not all that long ago.

You do have to turn the clock back three years, though, to find the last time that he reached three figures, so a dwindling of individual statistics should come as no real surprise. Kohli was last given an opportunity to raise his bat to an adoring fan base at Eden Gardens against Bangladesh on November 22, 2019.

Anniversary

An unwelcome anniversary is fast approaching and no opportunity in which to right a frustrating wrong will present itself any time soon, with focus currently locked on white-ball matters. That means uncomfortable questions will continue to be asked.

Between November 2016 and the same point in 2019, across another three-year window, Kohli plundered 14 centuries, with that haul including five double hundreds and a personal best return of 254 not out against South Africa.

At that point he was, quite literally, at the top of the world and could seemingly do no wrong. A return to century-making ways was enjoyed in a T20 international clash with Afghanistan in September 2022, but a serious itch that has hung around for 36 months is yet to be scratched at Test level.

Read: T20 World Cup 2022: Possible XI for India

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Rahul Roy
Rahul Roy
I am a computer guy by profession and a sports fanatic by choice.
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