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India's comeback against England at Lord's was one of India's best comebacks in their Test history. However, one of the concerns that got overshadowed in the win was India's batting, middle-order to be specific.

The trio of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane failed for the second time in succession in the first innings at Lords. They only added a total of nine runs in the first Test at Nottingham, their lowest-ever in the first innings of a test. Since 2020, Kohli's average is the lowest among the trio.

An Indian team that is so strong cannot have its three middle-order batsmen possessing an average of 20. We still have three tests remaining and we can only hope that the skipper gets back to his absolute best.

While the world is aware of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane's poor form lately, the duo did fairly well and were instrumental in helping India come out from 55/3 to lay the foundation for a decent total that was eventually boosted by a spectacle of an innings by India's tailenders, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.

But what remained constant was Virat Kohli's poor form and inaccuracy when it comes to shot selection. He looked like he was going to score big in the first innings at Lords but his shot selection let him down again as he departed on 42. In the second innings, he got out in his usual playing the fourth stump bowl rather than leaving it. 

So today, Cricwizz will throw some light only on India's skipper and his performances in the recent series.

Not owing to his batting responsibilities 

Virat Kohli was recently questioned about his poor form but the Indian skipper did not have a clear answer for it. Instead what he said was bewildering as his justification was more dependent on someone turning up on the day and rescuing the team.

"I do not think that is an area of concern. Our basic focus is not to think about where people are individually at the moment, collectively how much strength they bring into the team is our focus. As a batting unit, we are looking to perform in difficult conditions so that we are in winning positions and someone is going to put their hand up every game.”- Kohli

What if Pujara and Rahane hadn't put up the 100-run stand? Or what if Bumrah and Shami didn't bat as they did? The answer is simple. It would've been an easy win for the hosts and Kohli and co. would've been under the scanner then, especially the out-of-form middle-order.

Virat Kohli vs Joe Root since 2020

Joe Root Virat Kohli Test
Joe Root vs Virat Kohli (Since 2020)

**Note: The stats exclude Kohli's and Root's second innings at Lords.

Thankfully, India were on the lucky side on the day and contrived to clinch the Test on the final day. However, saying that performances are judged or should be judged on a collective basis is not what you would expect from a batsman who has almost 23,000 runs in International cricket.

Kohli's dismissal patterns

In New Zealand, Kohli was troubled throughout the series by his IPL teammate Kyle Jamieson. Kohli tried to drive him for a bowl that was outside off, while the other time he succumbed to Trent Boult's short ball.

That being the story of the first Test, Kohli was then dismissed by Tim Southee, LBW followed by Colin de Grandhomme, who got him LBW again!

In Australia, Kohli played just one Test at Adelaide which was the Day/Night one. However, his performance didn't see much sunlight as he was unfortunate in the first innings and was run out, while he was responsible for his wicket completely as he went for a drive outside off, eventually getting out at gully to Pat Cummins.

When England toured India, Kohli fell to Dom Bess and Ben Stokes in the first Test and got bowled in the second innings. Kohli scored 11 and 72 in the first Test, 0 and 62 in the second test, 27 and DNB in the third test, 0 and DNB in the fourth Test. 

In the World Test Championship Final, Kohli lost his wickets for 44 and 13, and against England in the first Test, Kohli scored 0 and DNB in the second innings. At Lords, he scored 42 in the first innings, while he got out for 20 in the second innings.

In the second Test, he got his stumps cleaned by Moeen Ali in the first innings, followed by an LBW, again by the off-spinner. In the third Test, Kohli was beaten by Jack Leach and the ball hit the stumps and the skipper did not bat in the second innings as Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill comfortably chased a small total.

In the fourth Test, Kohli got out on a duck to Ben Stokes, once again a ball that was in the fourth-stump line. However, he did not bat in the second innings as India won that Test by an innings.

Then came the World Test Championship Final where India were deemed as the favorites. However, Jamieson got the better of his RCB skipper in both innings, another typical dismissal that Kohli has had problems within his past where the ball pitches in the middle stump line and comes in sharply, getting him plumb in front of the middle stump.

In the second innings, India needed to register a respectable total, but Kohli didn't change. He tried to play a ball that was outside off, hanging his bat out and losing control. The tale of disappointment prevailed as he got dismissed on a golden duck by James Anderson, and yes, the ball was once again outside the line of the off-stump.

What we make out from all this is that, despite Kohli getting out to spinners, it's his knack of attempting to play the balls outside the stump line that gets him in trouble.

His other persistent error is trying to play across the balls that are coming in sharply to him. There is no problem in that approach but the fact that he still hasn't improved on the shot where he could simply glance it towards fine leg is something he needs to think about. 

Two adjustments and you will see Virat Kohli scoring tons week in week out.

Stats don't lie!

Let's have a look at Kohli's performances since 2020.

**Note: DNB stands for "Did not bat".

Against New Zealand (in New Zealand)

TestScore (1st Innings, 2nd)
First Test2, 19
Second Test3, 14

Against Australia (in Australia)

TestScore (1st Innings, 2nd)
First Test74, 4

Against England (in India)

TestScore (1st Innings, 2nd)
First Test11, 72
Second Test0, 62
Third Test27, DNB
Fourth Test0, DNB

World Test Championship Final (England)

WTC Final Score (1st,2nd)
Test44, 13

Against England (in England)

TestScore (1st Innings, 2nd)
First Test0, DNB 
Second Test42, 20

It is evident that Kohli's form and numbers have dropped significantly, isn't it? While we know that Kohli can completely prove everyone wrong and perform well in the upcoming Tests, it will surely be these mistakes where the skipper gives a second thought and rectifies himself.

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