Bengaluru, April 10: India captain Virat Kohli would have loved to see a happier run-up to the ICC World Cup after a fantastic run as the skipper of the national side over the last several months. However, things did not go as sweetly after India won their ODI series in New Zealand.
Kohli returned to lead the side in the home series against Australia after a brief break but lost both the T20I and ODI series 0-2 and 2-3, respectively. If that was not all, Kohli then tasted debacle as the skipper of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 that kicked off last month.
Kohli's side has suffered losses in all the six games they have played till now, leaving the side and its fans in a state of despair. Be it umpiring goof-ups or bowlers' breakdown in the face of murderous batting by Andre Russell, RCB have been at the receiving end and are in danger of finishing last in the edition even before the tournament reaches the halfway stage.
For a captain like Kohli who is extremely competitive and hates to lose, this debacle is bound to leave a serious impact. Former England captain Michael Vaughan has even suggested that India now rest Kohli so that he can get fresh for the World Cup - the next big event.
It is natural for the fans now to feel for Kohli who will be bearing a massive responsibility next but being a fiercely competitive man, it might be an entirely different story for the Indian captain once the World Cup kicks off. There are abundant instances in history where players' determination has seen them scaling the peak from a position of despair and Kohli has also shown his mettle in a younger age when he kept on batting to save his side even after his father passed away.
One would not be surprised if Kohli comes back with an even hungrier approach in the World Cup and takes the stage by storm. Being a player with a champion instinct, the 30-year-old is expected to make up for the loss in the IPL and deliver a decisive punch in the showpiece event where he will be leading India for the first time.
If Kohli's batting has come under the scanner in this IPL (only one fifty from six games), his captaincy credentials have also been questioned after a series of losses in international cricket as well as the IPL. But one should not lose sight of the fact that it was the same Kohli who led India to their maiden Test series victory in Australia recently besides their ODI series wins in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Kohli knows he needs a fresh stage to silence the critics and that stage could be the World Cup.