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Ravi Shastri: Virat Kohli is overcooked — if anyone needs a break, it’s him

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Ravi Shastri has called for Virat Kohli to take a break from playing cricket, saying that the former India skipper is “overcooked.”

Kohli, who was out for a first-ball duck during the IPL 2022 clash against Lucknow Super Giants on Tuesday, has not scored a hundred in any format since November 2019. From the start of 2020, the 33-year-old averages 39 in ODIs, 28.03 in Test cricket, and a little over 47 in T20Is. He has also not had the best run in the IPL, scoring 990 runs in 37 matches at an average of 31.93 with a strike rate of 120.87 in this period.

His woes have continued this season as well, with the batter scoring 119 runs in seven IPL games at an average of 19.83. Kohli was out for only his seventh IPL duck against Lucknow, which prompted Ravi Shastri, the former India coach who closely worked with him till he gave up the role last year, to suggest that the Delhi player is in need of a break and that he is playing with a “fried brain”.

Speaking on Star Sports where he is commentating during the IPL, Shastri said, “I am going straight to the main guy here. Virat Kohli is overcooked. If anyone needs a break, it’s him. Whether it’s 2 months or a month-and-a-half, whether it’s after England or before England. He needs a break because he has got 6-7 years of cricket left in him and you don’t want to lose that with a fried brain.”

Shastri also added that the impact of the bio-bubble can take a huge toll on a cricketer, and even during his coaching tenure the decision taken was to be more empathetic towards the cricketers with regards to mental health.

“When I was coach at the time when this first started, the first thing I said is ‘you have to show empathy to the guys’. If you’re going to be forceful, there is a very thin line there, from a guy losing the plot as opposed to him hanging in there and giving his best. So you have to be extremely careful.”

Kevin Pietersen, who is also commentating in the edition, echoed similar views, adding that Kohli needs to take a break from social media as well to get re-energised.

“The guy has had so much to deal with, from marriage to baby to media scrutiny and all on his personal life. He is the biggest star on show. Virat Kohli needs to say ‘cricket boots, for six months, I will see you later’, turn off social media, go and get re-energised.

“When the stadiums are full again, you guarantee him a spot in that side for the next 12, 24 or 36 months. Tell him ‘you’re our guy, we know you’ll deliver for us’. He is going to find it very hard to continue delivering now as his brain is completely fried”.

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