‘I Don’t Think There Was Any Monkey on Virat Kohli’s Back’

Last Updated: March 14, 2023, 10:52 IST

Virat Kohli has scored 28 century in Test cricket now. (AP Photo)

Virat Kohli has scored 28 century in Test cricket now. (AP Photo)

Virat Kohli ended his century drought in Test cricket with a daddy hundred against Australia in Ahmedabad

‘Monkey is Off His Back’, a phrase used quite freely when Virat Kohli peeled off his 28th Test century during the 4th Test between India and Australia in Ahmedabad. Former India coach and popular commentator Ravi Shastri took it up a step while on-air as he replaced ‘monkey’ with ‘gorilla’ in that phrase while underlining the significance of Kohli’s first Test century in over three years.

What the expression signifies is that Kohli was seemingly bogged down by his repeated failures to score a hundred in red-ball cricket with his last such score before Ahmedabad coming way back in November 2019. However, India captain Rohit Sharma feels otherwise.

Also Read: India Captain Rohit Sharma Sheds Light on WTC Final Preparations

“I don’t think there was any monkey on Virat’s back,” Rohit told reporters on Monday. “When you are around a player like that and see how they go about their business, you don’t feel that kind of thing going in his head. He’s just enjoying his cricket at the moment, which you can see. Obviously, he wants to put up big performances for the team which he has done in the past so many years. He just wants to do that every time he plays for India.”

The century was Kohli’s first in Test cricket after 41 innings. Since November 2019, he hadn’t scored a century across formats till the 2022 Asia Cup in UAE when he slammed a maiden century in T20Is and then last December, scored a hundred in ODIs as well, his first such score in the format since August 2019.

Rohit praised the way Kohli constructed his innings during the drawn Ahmedabad Test as he made 186.

“Look, he (Kohli) has played more than 100 Tests, got so many hundreds, for a player like him, it’s few innings here and there. We saw in white-ball cricket, we saw in Asia Cup, he scored that 100 and never looked back. I hope it will be same with red ball as well,” Rohit said.

Also Read: Virat Kohli’s Long-Awaited Century Bodes Well for India Ahead of WTC Final

He continued, It’s about going out there and applying yourself and doing the same things, he did pretty well and he did his own things rather than worrying about the scoreboard and he just batted the way he bats usually and that’s what got him success and to bat out so many balls is not easy on Day 3 and 4. Some balls taking sharp turns and some having uneven bounce, that’s typical Indian wicket. He got a big score and (took) us in a situation where we were.”

After Kohli’s marathon innings, his wife Anushka Sharma put out a story on Instagram suggesting the batter had been battling sickness.

“I don’t think he’s sick, he was just coughing a little bit. He’s not that bad health-wise,” Rohit clarified.

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