Former South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn feels that Virat Kohli is just one inning short of getting on the path of regaining his peak as a batter in world cricket, as he is now free to focus on his batting after the right-hander quit as India captain in T20Is and Tests and was replaced in ODIs.
The Delhi batter is playing his first international match as a non-captain after more than 5 years in the first ODI between India and South Africa in Paarl on January 19. Kohli had quit as Test captain earlier this month after India lost a 3-Test series 2-1 to South Africa last week. He made the announcement in an unforeseen social media post that took the cricket world by storm.
KL Rahul is leading the Indian ODI team in absence of injured Rohit Sharma, marking his first time captaining India in white-ball format. Virat Kohli had stressed in September last year that he wanted to continue as India’s ODI and Test captain, but the BCCI cited the impossibility of India having two white-ball captains in two formats and named Rohit Sharma as the captain of white-ball formats.
You Might Even See A Better Virat Kohli Now: Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn, who played under Virat Kohli for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), said that now Virat is free of the pressures of captaining India in all three formats and this leaves him with time to focus on his family and his batting and it might result in a newer and fresher Virat Kohli.
“He has got a young family right now, captaincy if you’re a single man being a professional sportsman, it’s almost like a selfish thing, we all have to focus on ourselves to be able to get the best out of us and provide the best for the country.
“But the moment a young family comes in, some other things don’t matter much. Now I think, Virat Kohli has relinquished captaincy, he can focus on his family and then just focus on his batting.
“You might even see a better Virat Kohli now. For the bulk of his career, he was a single man, he was captain, he didn’t have to worry about that kind of stuff but now there are so many new things that have come up in the game. I do think this will free him up and we’ll probably see he hasn’t scored an international hundred in 2 years. Maybe today could be the day as his first game as a non-captain,” Steyn told Star Sports on Wednesday.
Virat Kohli will be itching to end his long wait for the 71st international century. His last ODI century came in August 2019 and his last international ton came in November 2019.