IPL form of Virat Kohli is no reliable barometer for India selectors

That he has been failing in the IPL, where standards are variable and the game overshadowed by so much else, means it does not quite feel so real as a crisis.
Virat Kohli has hit a lean patch in the IPL. Pawan Singh / The National
Virat Kohli has hit a lean patch in the IPL. Pawan Singh / The National
It cannot be simple being a national selector in the age of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and its many imitators.

There was a time when domestic and continuing international form would suffice. Now, though, with Twenty20 and the IPL, the lens through which selectors might view a player is completely distorted.

Take, for instance, the sudden dampening in the exuberance of Virat Kohli. For the last two years, Kohli has been acknowledged as the world's best batsman, alongside men such as AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla.

Like de Villiers, he has been a man not only for all conditions, but all formats, too.

So to see him at the centre of a struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore side this season has been, well, disorienting more than anything else.

Not that the average is so relevant in the format, but Kohli has made 154 runs in 10 games, at just 17.11. His strike rate is just over a run-a-ball, but that he has been thrice dismissed for ducks is arguably the most eye-catching fact.

But, and maybe it is the unreality of the IPL that plays this up, Kohli's run does not sound yet like it should be a concern to anyone, selectors included.

That he has been failing in the IPL, where standards are variable and the game overshadowed by so much else, means it does not quite feel so real as a crisis, that he is not performing and that there could be a hangover when India play next.

Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain, waded into the conversation, suggesting in a column that captaincy was having an effect on Kohli's game. That disregards Kohli's formidable ODI record as India captain - three hundreds, 65-plus average across 12 matches, thank you.

Kohli is hardly fazed, and should we expect any other state of being?

"I believe in my abilities and I need just one good game," he said. "In a tournament like IPL, it's very difficult to get out of a zone that you get into."

The unceasing grind of matches and travel, in other words, as well as the unrelenting nature of the format makes it especially difficult to climb up a slope once you are stuck going down.

There are flipsides of course, not least the one in front of Kohli's face, in the sudden, sharp upturn in Yuvraj Singh's fortunes.

And once you are on the up, as Glenn Maxwell might also testify, it is very difficult to come back down in the IPL.

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter at SprtNationalUAE

Published: May 15, 2014 04:00 AM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one