Former India captain Virat Kohli made a terrific comeback in the 2022 Asia Cup. Kohli, who had been struggling for form throughout the year, took over a month -long rest before making a return in the continental tournament, and produced a brilliant outing with a century and two half-century in five matches. Kohli’s unbeaten 122-run innings came in India‘s final match of the Asia Cup against Afghanistan, as the 33-year-old batter ended a long wait for a three-figure score in an international innings – it was his first since November 2019, and a first in T20Is as well.
The last 12 months have been quite eventful for Virat Kohli as well as the Indian team. Kohli announced a shock decision to step down as T20I captain before the World Cup in 2021, and was further succeeded by Rohit Sharma in the role in both, T20Is and ODIs. In January earlier this year, Kohli also left his position as the Test captain, with Rohit taking over that role too. This was followed by a lean patch with the bat for Kohli, as he could score only one half-century throughout the 2022 Indian Premier League.
On his return to international cricket against England in June, the 33-year-old batter failed to cross the 20-run mark in six innings across all formats.
In a freewheeling discussion with former India star Ajay Jadeja, Pakistan’s former captain Rashid Latif opened up on Kohli’s career trajectory over the past year. Latif believes that Kohli’s decision to leave the job – as well as former head coach Ravi Shastri leaving the position – could be attributed to “changes” brought by the arrival of Sourav Ganguly as the BCCI President.
Latif began his argument with the turn of events throughout the previous year. “They (India) took Dhoni as mentor in the World Cup. Just before that, he (Kohli) announced that he would step down as T20I captain. That was very shocking for us and we didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes. Then, the team goes to South Africa and Rohit gets unfit, and KL Rahul becomes the captain. And there, Kohli left the Test captaincy as well. So a lot of things were happening,” Latif told Jadeja on his official YouTube channel, Caught Behind.
“Then, if I go back to the 2019 World Cup, Ravi Shastri was the head coach there. What I observe from all this is that Sourav’s arrival triggered the change. Shastri left, then Rahul Dravid came, Vikram Rathour was already there. I think there was something brewing up behind the scenes. It felt that a player who was at the high of his life was deliberately troubled,” Latif further said.
In the recently-concluded Asia Cup, however, Kohli made a blistering return to run-scoring as he smashed 276 runs in five innings at a brilliant average of 92 and a strike rate of 147.59.