It was at the Asia Cup last year that Virat Kohli scored his maiden T20I century. The expression on his face upon achieving the feat was more of a surprise than relief considering it was the format he would least consider to break his century drought in all forms of cricket that was nearing three years.
Since then, Kohli has struck three more centuries, all in ODIs indicating the drought has indeed ended. However, the struggle in Test cricket continues.
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It was in November 2019 that Kohli last celebrated a century in whites during what was India’s first ever day-night Test. Since then the closest he has come to registering a score in three digits was in 2022 when he scored 79 in Cape Town.
His Test average might have taken a beating because of this but it doesn’t mean Kohli has been struggling with form. In fact, plenty of times, he has done the hard work to settle in, played flowing cover drives, produced solid defensive shots but somehow, one mistake tends to seal his fate.
Former Australia international Mark Waugh says it’s hard to believe that a player of Kohli’s calibre is enduring such a long wait for a Test century.
“I cannot believe a player of his class has gone that long without a hundred,” former Australia batter Mark Waugh said on Fox Cricket.
“He’s been in good touch recently, he’s batted well in one-day cricket. I know it’s not Test match cricket, but the signs have been there in his last three innings in Test cricket that he’s actually playing pretty well. He’s middling the ball, he’s watching the ball well, and his defence is strong. He’s just making the odd error and it’s proving costly for him. He hasn’t had a lot of luck. He makes one mistake and he’s out," Waugh added.
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Waugh observed that Kohli doesn’t seem to be relaxed when he walks out to bat and adds that the pressure to score a hundred is getting to him.
“He’s a world-class player and I feel like a hundred is just around the corner for him. He’s feeling the pressure, no doubt about it … I feel like he is a little bit tense when he goes out there in the middle," Waugh said.
“He actually does play with quite hard hands, he likes to feel bat on ball. That dismissal in the first innings he just played that too square, if he played that to mid on he would have been okay, but he played it around his front pad.
“He does tend to plant his front foot, which technically is not a great thing to do in India. We have seen him play back in the crease in a couple of innings, which is quite well-suited to slower pitches. There’s no obvious weakness, but he seems to make one mistake and he’s gone.”
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