Team India’s top-order woes continued in the first innings of the fourth Test, in Ahmedabad. Barring Rohit Sharma, no one could make a telling contribution to the team’s total; in fact, skipper Virat Kohli was dismissed for his second duck of the series – something that hasn’t happened since 2014.
And this collapse, along with the ongoing pitch-related chatter, has ignited a new Virat Kohli versus Rohit Sharma debate on social media.
Surely that wasn’t Virat staring at the Pitch … !!!!! #INDvENG 😜
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 5, 2021
What sparked the flames, you ask? No prizes for guessing: a Michael Vaughan tweet. *insert unamused face emoji*
Although the former England captain was reacting to Virat’s pre-match comments on visiting teams’ ‘cribbing’ against spin-friendly wickets, the comment section quickly became a battleground for new Virat v Rohit comparisons.
Some fans were quick to question if Rohit would’ve been offered the same support if he was performing like this. Virat not disturbing the scorers quite a few times of late also came up; so did his recent century on instagram.
When will Kohli score some runs for team???
Imagine If Rohit would have scored 2 ducks in a series…🙄🙄🙄
Whole Twitter would have gone crazy and already comments would have been there “Remove Rohit from test team”
Missing our old Kohli.
The 71th century wait continues…😒
— TROLL CRICKET INDIA (@Troll_CricIndia) March 5, 2021
It tells a lot about different players caliber😭….
Most 100s in WTC:
5 – 🇦🇺 Marnus Labuschagne
4 – 🇵🇰 Babar Azam
4 – 🇮🇳 Rohit Sharma
Most 0s in WTC:
5 – 🇵🇰 Shan Masood
4 – 🇮🇳 Virat Kohli
4 – 🏴Dom Sibley
— HumRO 🍥 (@humro66) March 5, 2021
He is spent force now. Its sharp decline and decline nonetheless. Past his prime. Time to give some one else chance. Although his followers count is increasing in @instagram . So well despite zero contributions, he is making lots of money.
— Amit (@petroamit) March 5, 2021
But the pro-Virat lobby was swift to jump to his defence. Even greats are allowed a lean patch, after all.
Form is temporary. Class is permanent. Kohli is class
— Suraj S Subramanian (@SurajSSubraman1) March 5, 2021
Virat is still the best batsman of India. Just going through the bad patch. He will come good.
— Abhishek Hanbar (@abhi_ph17) March 5, 2021
The voices criticising Virat, however, kept getting louder. A frustrated fan even went as far as accusing Virat of only scoring against weaker opposition these days.
Virat straight into BCCI office demanding home series vs Nepal to get his average back up after his failure this series 🤣🤣🤣
— Monkey 🐵 🌍🏐 (@monkeyH78) March 5, 2021
Although extreme, such comments are not completely baseless.
The Delhi-lad has managed as low as three 50-plus scores in his last 12 Test innings. He averages below 40 in this period, a fairly low return against the lofty standards he has set for himself throughout his glorious career. But it’s also worth pointing out that his last hundred in this format came against Bangladesh, back in 2019, a certainly weaker opposition than England or Australia.
— J.I.T. (@JitRo45) March 5, 2021
On the other hand, Rohit is the leading run-scorer in the ongoing series and looked good for his 49 today as well. The Mumbai-born opener averages almost 80 on Indian wickets and is arguably one of India’s most important batsmen across all formats.
Having said that, Kohli’s career stats are equally staggering. And for the love of cricket, it’s only a matter of time before he puts up another one of his famed displays with the bat. He’s been much better in the second innings this series, and Indian fans would be hoping for more of the same this weekend.
It’s really good to see the way Virat Kohli Appreciate his team every Players. When team walking Goes to Dressing room, Virat Kohli Appreciated and claps for everyone. Fantastic Captain Virat Kohli. pic.twitter.com/o2lZ5Uw6fE
— CricketMAN2 (@man4_cricket) March 4, 2021
The Virat versus Rohit debate is not a new one.
After the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup, reports indicated an off-field rift between the pair. Rohit even ‘unfollowed Virat and his wife Anushka Sharma on social media platforms.’
According to the Times of India, Kohli still follows Rohit but not his wife Ritika Sajdeh, while Anushka has stopped following both. Ritika too doesn’t follow either the captain or his wife.
Rohit has refused to address these rumours, but captain Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri have dismissed all such reports and stated that there was no truth whatsoever in the speculations.
On the field though, Virat continues to prove his leadership credentials, aiming to wrap up his ninth consecutive series win at home – the most by any Indian captain. A series victory here would also make sure his team reaches the final of the first ever World Test Championship.
Three full days still to play in the ongoing game though. And with the way things are looking right now, anything seems possible.
Maybe Virat scores a hundred; maybe he gets a pair; maybe he does something in between. Let’s wait and watch.
Featured image credits: @virat.kohli and @rohitsharma45