Virat Kohli’s (44) hunt for a first international century in almost two years continued on Day 4 of The Oval Test against England. Coming into the first session having negotiated the second new ball overnight, the Indian skipper nicked an arm ball from off-spinner Moeen Ali to first slip.

It not only was another wasted start, but was also an untimely wicket for the team who were looking set to post a fighting target for the hosts, in the fourth innings of the fourth Test, with the series level at 1-1.

Thankfully for the visitors however, the tail wagged, thanks in large parts to Shardul Thakur (60) and Rishabh Pant (50). Their century-plus stand helped extend the Indian lead to beyond 350, as the Englishmen (77/0) look to chase it down on the final day, with 10 wickets in hand.

 

What caught the eye of the cameras after Kohli’s dismissal though, was his reaction en route the pavillion. The frustrated 32-year-old was seen smashing the dressing room door in frustration.

He has so far scored two half centuries in the ongoing series, but an average of 30-odd in four matches is way below the lofty standards that Kohli sets for himself. He compliments passion and enthusiasm with hard work and world-class fitness. And this approach has worked for him on more than one occasion in the past.

Middle finger in Sydney 

The Delhi-lad recently accepted that he may have “gotten away” with the infamous 2012 Sydney incident during an India-Australia Test match. In a viral picture, Kohli was seen showing his middle finger to the Australian crowd. 

Speaking to Wisden Cricket Monthly, Virat Kohli said that it is one episode he would like to forget. “The one thing I remember most is when I’d had enough of the Australian crowd at Sydney [in 2012] and I just decided to flick a [middle] finger at them,” he said.

Remembering the incident Virat Kohli said, “The match referee [Ranjan Madugalle] called me to his room the next day and I’m like, ‘What’s wrong?’ He said, ‘What happened at the boundary yesterday?’ I said, ‘Nothing, it was a bit of banter’. Then he threw the newspaper in front of me and there was this big image of me flicking on the front page and I said, ‘I’m so sorry, please don’t ban me!’ I got away with that one. He was a nice guy, he understood I was young and these things happen.”

Although India eventually lost the series, Kohli did manage to score a hundred as well as a half-century in the course.

Bad blood with the Aussies

Kohli’s problems extend beyond the Australian spectators. He has developed a competitive relationship with the players through the years, as well. Apart from a run-in with captain Tim Paine, which also featured in the Amazon Prime documentary The Test, Kohli has had it with Steve Smith in the past. 

Kohli had accused Smith of cheating in the ‘brain-fade incident’ when the Australian looked for help from the dressing room for a DRS referral during the 2017 at home. In the 2016 limited overs series in Australia, Kohli gave Smith a send-off but the worst came in 2014-15, when Kohli among other Indians had on-field fights with many Australian cricketers including Mitchell Johnson who threw a ball at him

But Kohli & Co have had the last laugh in the last couple of tours Down Under. They have rewritten history, by winning back-to-back Test series in the Aussies’ own backyard.

At loggerheads with Ben Stokes

Virat Kohli and England’s talismanic allrounder had a seemingly heated conversation in the four-match Test series hosted by India, earlier in 2021. It happened in the course of the Englishman’s 55-run knock, as his side were all out for 205 in Ahmedabad, with the two separated by the umpire.

Ben Stokes later said that it was “just two blokes who love what they do and don’t back down”; the all-rounder was frustrated that England couldn’t score 300 on day one of the fourth Test in Ahmedabad after being bowled out for 205 having won the toss.

India went on to win the series 2-1 (their 13th consecutive Test series), despite having lost the first match in Chennai. It also meant that they reached the final of the inaugural World Test Championship under Kohli’s captaincy. 

IPL dressing room speech

Having made it to the playoffs of the 2020 IPL in the UAE, the Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore could only finish fourth eventually. They lost out to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator, but the skipper ensured that his club are back hungrier next season.

Post the defeat, Virat Kohli delivered a passionate speech in the dressing room, celebrating his teammates for a brilliant run to the playoffs. He urged them to keep their heads high and take the positives from this season and carry the momentum forward in the next edition.

As the ongoing season of the 2021 edition of the IPL resumes later this year, RCB are just two points behind leaders Delhi Capitals, that too with a game in hand. The speech so far seems to have worked.

Will this be the year that witnesses the end of the trophy drought for RCB? The answer could lie in the club’s promising squad depth and Kohli’s infectious passion.

Images: Twitter/BCCI; SonyLIV