Virat Kohli is widely regarded as a modern master with the bat given his stellar record in all formats of the game. His ability to lead the team from the front with his bat has made him a darling of everyone.
However, even he had to undergo a harrowing time as well, especially on the 2014 tour to England, when he just couldn’t make any runs in the five-match Test series. He managed to score just 134 runs in the 10 Test innings he played on that tour, at a lowly average of 13.4.
But he was still backed by the Indian team management and most importantly then captain MS Dhoni. And Gautam Gambhir feels Dhoni must be given credit for doing so.
Gambhir and Laxman discussed the growth of Virat Kohli as a Test cricketer in the latest edition of the Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
“The sort of series it was in 2014, even I was there on that tour. You have to give credit to MS Dhoni because a lot of careers have ended after such a series, especially in one format. But he gave that kind of security to Virat Kohli plus his own eagerness," the former opener said.
Gambhir also lauded the mental prowess of Kohli, which enabled him to come back from that sort of setback. "If he was a mentally weak player, he could have said after that tour that his focus will only be on white-ball cricket. If he gets to play Test cricket it is fine else he will focus just on the other two formats. But credit needs to be given that he gave importance to Test cricket and conquered it,” Gambhir said.
VVS Laxman also lauded Kohli’s comeback after that tour and said, "But that 2014 series was very important. It was a miserable series. But to come back in such a fashion like the way he did in all the 3 formats, performing consistently and winning matches for India, maintaining high standards for himself is just incredible. He went to Australia and made those centuries and even in South Africa."
Kohli bounced back in style in 2014 during the tour of Australia, where he amassed 692 runs in just 4 Test matches. These runs came at a Bradmanesque average of 86.5 and included 4 centuries. Then in 2018, Kohli led the Indian team to the tour of England and smashed 593 runs at an average of 59.3 to set the record straight.