In the first half of 2022, when Virat Kohli was struggling and chose to take a brief hiatus from cricket, former India captain Sourav Ganguly made a very intriguing statement. Before his much-anticipated comeback, Ganguly had remarked that Kohli will have to score runs for himself and wished for a successful season from the King. Kohli, who following the England series had missed the tours of West Indies and Zimbabwe, was scheduled to return in the Asia Cup. Ganguly’s advice was spot on as Kohli regained his mojo, first ending his century drought with an unbeaten 122 against Afghanistan to finish as the Asia Cup’s leading run-getter and then winning the T20 world championship.
With the century drought over, Kohli closed the year by scoring his first ODI hundred in more than three years, which turned out to be the beginning of a new trend. Kohli had a successful end to 2022 and a spectacular start to 2023, reaching two hundred in three innings against Sri Lanka with scores of 113 and 166 not out. In a World Cup year, Kohli’s return to form in ODIs and T20Is is a great boost for India, but Test cricket still stands as the last hurdle. Virat will be up for a tough test when India faces Australia for the highly anticipated Test series, even though Kohli has only played two Tests in the past six months.
Given the significance of the series that kicks off on February 9 in Nagpur, Ganguly, whose prognosis of Kohli’s return to form struck the mark, anticipates a much better performance from the former India captain in Test matches. Ganguly was in charge when India ended Australia’s 16-game winning streak all those years ago, so he is aware of the stakes, especially now that both teams are strong favorites to play in the World Test Championship final.
“Yes. He has batted well – against Sri Lanka, against Bangladesh. He will have to improve in Test cricket because India depends on him and a very crucial series against Australia is approaching which I believe will be a cracker of a contest. I expect it to be very competitive. Both are extremely good teams and these two teams may go on to play the World Test Championship final,” Ganguly told Sports Tak.
In addition, Kohli will be highly motivated. When India lost the opening game of the last India vs. Australia Test series, Kohli, the captain, returned home to attend the birth of his first child while watching the team produce what is possibly the greatest comeback story in history. Additionally, Kohli had a stretch of poor performances during India’s most recent Test series in Australia in 2017, scoring just 46 runs in three games at an average of 9.20, which is statistically one of his worst performances ever.
With their 2-0 series victory over South Africa, Australia, which is currently in first place in the WTC standings, now has a clear path to the WTC final. All they need to do is avoid a 0-4 whitewash. India, who is currently ranked second overall, can live with losing just one more Test. They will advance if they win the series by a score of 4-0, 3-0, or even 3-1. South Africa is in second place, Sri Lanka is in third, and the results of SL will also affect the winners.