‘It pains me to see such a big player go through such a long gap’: Kapil Dev on Virat Kohli’s century drought

Former Indian skipper and allrounder Kapil Dev has expressed his concerns over Virat Kohli’s batting form and his 30-month century drought.

Kapil Dev said that he never expected a batter of caliber which can be compared with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, or Sunil Gavaskar, but Virat compelled them to do so.

Kohli, who would pile centuries for fun during his prime a few years back has gone without scoring a century for more than 30 months now. His last century came against Bangladesh in November 2019. Since then, the cricketing fraternity is waiting for his 71st century, but the wait has been longer than expected.

Talking on a YouTube talk show Uncut, Dev said, “It pains me to see such a big player go through such a long gap (with regards to a century). He is like a hero to us. We never thought we would witness a player whom we could compare to Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, or Virender Sehwag. But then he came, and compelled us to compare.”

Dev further stated that Kohli might need to look at his mental state. “Now since he hasn’t hit a century for the last two years, it is bothering me that he needs to improve his cricket at a mental state. Otherwise, we don’t need to tell him anything.”

Kohli had a poor outing in the current year’s IPL season as well. He amassed a meager 341 runs in 16 matches and was sent back for a golden duck on three occasions.

Questions have also been raised on Rohit Sharma’s form since he failed to score a single half-century over the 14 matches in IPL 2022.

Talking about the Indian captain’s form, the former allrounder said, “He is a great player and there are no doubts about it. But if you don’t score a 50 in 14 matches, there will be questions. It may be Gary Sobers, Sachin, Virat Kohli, or Sunil Gavaskar. And only Rohit can answer the question.”

Dev also added that it was weird to rest these players especially when they were out of form. He further said that players like Rohit or Kohli should enjoy their cricket. “If we talk about Rohit or Virat, they should enjoy. A lot of things depend on what they feel [while playing cricket].”

Kapil Dev subsequently also opened up about the criticisms they face from the fans and others when they share their thought or comments on the form of performance of Indian players. He said that they understand the game of cricket, and hence have a right to talk about it.

“I haven’t played as much as cricket Virat Kohli. But sometimes you may not have played enough cricket, but you can understand and figure things out. Either that, or we just cannot criticise such great players, because we have not played that much! We played cricket and we understand the game. They have to improve their thought process, and not ours. If they prove us wrong, we will like it. But if you don’t score runs, we feel there is something wrong. We just see one thing, and that’s your performance. And if the performance is poor, we can’t expect people to stay quiet. Your bat and your performance should speak, then you need to speak nothing else.” Kapil added.

All the eyes will be on Rohit and Kohli as they face England in the rescheduled fifth Test match starting on 1 July.

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