Kohli proves rumors of him losing intensity are greatly exaggerated

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The long and tedious wait for Virat Kohli’s international 75th century has dragged on to another day. It’s been 784 days since he recorded one – his longest wait – and a period in which his life and his cricket have changed unrecognizably. He became a father, gave up the captaincy and the halo around his staff is just beginning to fade. But despite all the changes in his life and career, despite all the intrigue surrounding his decision to step down as Test and T20 captain, he hasn’t lost his passion or his intensity, his drive or his energy. , these characteristics that define it, on the field.

Relinquishing the captaincy has not extinguished the fire of ambition within him, not even in ODIs, the only format in which the captaincy has been stripped from him. He might be quieter when he was on the field, he might not be urging bowlers as fervently as when he was captain, he might not be walking or running as fast as when he was captain, the microphone of the strain might not capture the incessant harsh tone. of his chatter.

But it’s no longer Kohli’s business to inject energy and intensity into his colleagues when they’re out in the field – it’s the captain’s duty to lead the orchestra, and Kohli n is no longer one. It would have been weird if he had run around the field as animatedly as he had when he was captain. It would have portrayed him as bossy and pushy, eager to impose his personality even when he wasn’t the captain. So he was calm. There were no turbocharged celebrations, no popping veins or punches, or fiery send-offs. Phew, he even had a congratulatory conversation with de Kock as he walked back to the locker room.

But let her calmness not be interpreted as detachment or a lack of passion. Because, it was the usual Kohli when he went out at bat. Evident was his bristling intensity to revive his golden standards, the burning passion to roam the desert and find an oasis of hundreds.

Only such an excited and determined batsman, and not a wary batsman, could brush the first ball out of his body for a four. It might have been a semi-loose ball, but the emphatic way he whipped it underlined that his hunger hadn’t diminished. He wouldn’t go easy towards sunset.

Contrary to rumors that he lost his vigor. He seemed extra-energized, super-stimulated. There were a few cues that captured his state of mind, such as the big-stepping front foot, the dynamic drives and the frantic race between the wickets.

The usual flow of mind-sapping singles appeared on the leg side. In between, he drove with thrilling, easy power through the covers. He unmasked the weak spots in South African bowling and separated them. None of his ovens were cover readers, well-damped as the region was. But he was driving as lavishly as lately. He seemed to have regained his free spirit. Not entirely, but almost entirely.

Impressive, he did not seek to impose himself. Sometimes on his journey of rediscovery he had seemed overly impatient, and in the end he had come undone. Here he achieved an impeccable balance of mind, despite all the external energy. For 41 balls, he was content to steal singles. If he stepped in once in a while, it was not in search of boundaries, but to ruffle the length of the bowlers.

At times it’s veered into Steve Smith’s realm of a mime artist, giving the viewer a running visual commentary of what’s buzzing in their head. Like when the bat flipped in his hand as he drove Lungi Ngidi, he yelled at himself, practiced the shadow kick a few times and yelled at his non-striker Shikhar Dhawan that “limit marna that”. Later, when Ngidi’s dive beat him, he gave her a sarcastic wink. When he missed an awful Sisanda Magala half-tracker, he winced and looked like he was about to beat his forehead in frustration as he ran the single. The shrug, the nod, the broad smile, the warm applause, the bulging eyes when he stretched for a deuce, a whole range of emotions passed and passed over his face.

These were clear signs that he was enjoying his stick. Because when he’s not, he becomes pensive and ponderous, doing his best to hide his emotions. Here, he let it flow, more aptly, let it tear. He fell 35 runs short of his 75th century, but in a larger sense it didn’t matter, as there were enough signs and omens that he didn’t lose any of his intensity and of his passion.

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