Virat Kohli's lack of form with the bat seemed to have become a national obsession with almost everyone in the country voicing their opinion on the matter. While several former India cricketers have voiced their concerns about Virat Kohli's lean patch, a few of them, including Kapil Dev, Wasim Jaffer, Ajay Jadeja, Karsan Ghavri, and Zaheer Khan have all called for his ouster from India's T20 team. On the other hand, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, Ashish Nehra, and even current India captain Rohit Sharma denounced their remarks. Kapil Dev's comments in particular seemed to have led to a wave of sympathy for Virat Kohli in public. Now another ex-Indian cricketer named Hemang Badani has come out in the Delhi-born cricket star's support.
Hemang Badani's support for Virat Kohli, however, came uniquely as he responded to a question on the former India captain's form by senior cricket journalist Vijay Lokapally.
Vijay Lokapally, incidentally, has written a book on Virat Kohli's spectacular rise in Indian cricket before becoming the most powerful man in the sport.
“What should he do to become the Virat Kohli we knew him to be?” Vijay Lokapally asked on Twitter.
Hemang Badani in his reply requested everyone to give him time and space to regain his lost touch: “Leave the man alone. Period!”
Leave the man alone..Period!! https://t.co/Mp3pfV0arY
— Hemang Badani (@hemangkbadani) July 14, 2022
Virat Kohli didn't feature in the first ODI due to a groin injury but made his return to the side in the ongoing second fixture at Lord's.
But a venue change didn't alter his fortunes as his struggles outside the off-stump continued in London. The 33-year-old lost his wicket for 16 after edging a wide David Willey delivery to wicketkeeper and England captain Jos Buttler.
Before Virat Kohli joined the Rohit Sharma-led Team India in the second ODI, he featured in two T20I games against England but could only register scores of 1 and 11 in his innings at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge respectively.
Virat Kohli also took part in the fifth and fifth final Test against the Three Lions at Birmingham but couldn't reignite his form as he was dismissed for 11 and 20 in his two knocks there.
Virat Kohli had a woeful run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as well as he could manage to score only 341 runs at a dismal average of 22.73 in 16 matches.
The Delhi-born cricketer's last century in international cricket came way back in the historic Pink-ball Test against Bangladesh at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2019. His rough patch with the bat has now extended to nearly a thousand days. But what's worrying every cricket fan is that his horror run is showing no signs of ending, at least for now.
Earlier, Ashish Nehra declared that it wasn't the time to criticize Virat Kohli as he deserved all the support for doing so much for the country in the past.
Ashish Nehra even took an indirect dig at Kapil Dev who had asked for his removal from India's limited-overs sides.
“There will be discussions even if you’re not a player of Kohli’s calibre. When you are playing, you try to focus on your game and not listen to so-called ‘outside voices’ from people outside the dressing room. It’s important how your teammates, management and selectors are backing you… but we are talking about a guy like Virat. Yes, it’s not written anywhere that he will keep playing for India even if he doesn’t score runs. But when you have done so much in the past, you will always get extra chances,” said Ashish Nehra in a virtual interaction organized by Sony Sports.
“Everybody knows his accomplishments and the talent he has. At the age of 33, fitness isn’t a problem for him. Everybody is hopeful that Virat will come good, the quicker the better. Let’s hope we see a different Virat after the West Indies series. If he rests for a month or five odd weeks, it will be helpful for him,” he added.
“Yes, you get dropped when you don’t perform. However, there are many ifs and buts. When you’re a player like Virat who has scored runs and done so much for the country, he can’t be dropped straightaway. Yes, Virat hasn’t been among runs but dropping him isn’t the solution. We are discussing Virat as an example. Even Rohit struggled before returning to form in the 50-over game. But he struggled in this year’s IPL and other Twenty20 games. With the emergence of all formats, a player who plays across all three will get more chances to score but he can fail too,” Ashish Nehra signed off.