Virat Kohli had a wry smile on his face once his attempted drive sailed into Deepak Hooda’s hands. And then he walked back to the dugout, head down and shaking it a few times in disbelief.
His stay at the crease on Tuesday, as the Royal Challengers Bangalore played the Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Super League, lasted just that one ball from Dushmantha Chameera. The duck marked the 100th consecutive match across formats in which the former India captain has failed to score a century.
The alarming drop of form is accentuated in the fact that the last time he scored a half century, across competitions, was the 52 he managed against the West Indies in a T20 International in Kolkata earlier this year - 11 innings ago.
For the former national coach Ravi Shastri though, the answer is simple - Kohli needs some time away from cricket.
“I am going straight to the main guy here. Virat Kohli is overcooked. If anyone needs a break, it’s him,” he said to Star Sports.
“Whether it’s 2 months or a month-and-a-half, whether it’s after England or before England. He needs a break because he has got 6-7 years of cricket left in him and you don’t want to lose that with a fried brain.”
Kohli has been rated as one of the best batsman the sport has seen, but the 33-year-old has been struggling off late. He had recently stepped down as captain of India’s Test and T20 teams and the RCB. He was also removed as skipper of the India ODI squad.
Former England batter Kevin Pietersen too held a similar stance as Shastri.
“The guy has had so much to deal with, from marriage to baby to media scrutiny and all on his personal life. He is the biggest star on show,” the Englishman said.
“Virat Kohli needs to say ‘cricket boots, for six months, I will see you later’. Turn off social media, go and get re-energised. When the stadiums are full again, you guarantee him a spot in that side for the next 12, 24 or 36 months. Tell him ‘you’re our guy, we know you’ll deliver for us’.
“(Kohli) is going to find it very hard to continue delivering now as his brain is completely fried”.