Still in good touch, why has Virat Kohli not found runs?
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Over the course of the first two Tests, Virat Kohli will have understood the many layers contained in the word 'form'. At the start of the series, he might well have been the batsman England most feared in the Indian team, more than Sachin Tendulkar, more than Virender Sehwag. Even the English media seemed to think so.
Till that point, he had been scarily consistent right through the year, averaging over 60 in Tests, over 70 in ODIs and nearly 50 in Twenty20 internationals. In 34 innings across the three formats, he had been dismissed in single figures only three times.
He has added only one more single-digit score since then, but his visits to the crease in the first two Tests have only yielded 19, 14*, 19 and 7. But at no point has Kohli looked out of form, in the traditional sense of the phrase.
During the Indian team's net session at the Eden Gardens practice wickets on Monday, Kohli certainly looked like he was in form. He looked comfortably balanced in that combative, upright stance of his, and his bat came down nice and straight when he defended the quicks. His feet moved nimbly out of the crease when he played the spinners: in a straight line when he sent an R Ashwin delivery whistling to the long off fence, and diagonally when he made himself room to drive Pragyan Ojha inside-out. He middled pretty much everything.
This was more or less the case in each of his innings at Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Till the moment he was dismissed, Kohli was seldom troubled by individual deliveries. But the English bowlers kept him quiet over long sequences of deliveries. At the Motera, James Anderson and Graeme Swann kept him on 0 for 25 balls. In the first innings at the Wankhede, he played only nine scoring shots in 55 balls, all bowled by Swann and Monty Panesar.