Like any absorbing Test match, the rescheduled fifth game between England and India went to the fifth and final day. India were bowled out for 245 in their second innings, setting the hosts a record target of 378 runs. Early strikes could have swung the momentum in India’s favour but a listless bowling display helped the Poms cruise to their highest Test run-chase with two sessions to spare at Edgbaston. Also Read | ‘Go and sit on a beach’: After Shastri, former ENG captain says Virat Kohli needs sabbatical, stay ‘three months away’
As the Indian bowling unit didn’t thwart the opposition in the fourth innings, Indian media was quick and blunt in its criticism, with former skipper Virat Kohli also on the radar. The star batter, on the field, tried to wind up England batters but failed with the bat yet again. The 33-year-old is facing a batting slump, having not managed a single international century since 2019.
Kohli’s theatrics on the field didn’t help him find lost touch and he registered scores of 11 and 20 at Edgbaston. He had also endured a subpar Indian Premier League (IPL) where he recorded three golden ducks dismissals.
The mercurial player’s lean patch has been a hot topic of debate for the last couple of years. But former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif believes world cricket needs Kohli, who behaves his usual animated self despite blowing hot and cold with the bat.
“I do believe, he will come back. I have some hopes. World cricket needs him. Because of the way he plays. In this very match at Edgbaston, he went and picked up a fight. Pange lete hai full, kabhi Leach se le liya, kabhi Root se le liya. So this is a positive sign that he will surely come back,” Latif said on his Youtube channel ‘Caught Behind.’
“Because he is a team man and he supports his players well. And the way he supports them, there is hope that he will come back.”
Latif also made a bold prediction, saying Kohli, at the end of his career, might be in the same league as Sachin Tendulkar or Sir Don Bradman. “These things happen in every player’s life. When he leaves cricket, his name will be on par with Sachin Tendulkar. Who knows it may be on par with ‘Sir’ Don Bradman,” he said.
Earlier, former opener Virender Sehwag had also backed Kohli to regain his lost touch. He had underlined Kohli’s performances in the practice game against Leicestershire.
“I think his bad days are over. Ab lagta hai behtar din ayenge (I think now his better days will come) and they have already started. He has scored fifty in both the innings.” (Kohli scored a fifty in the 2nd innings and he scored 33 runs in the first innings of warm-up game)” Sehwag said Sony’s pre-match show ‘Extra Innings’ before the much-delayed fifth Test.