Bugs Bunny emerges from the burrow he has dug in a state of confusion.
He’s not where he planned to be. He’s aiming for the bling of Vegas. He realises he’s in the Black Forests of Germany.
“I knew I should have made that left turn at Albuquerque”
Immortal words spoken by an animated rabbit. A scenario that perfectly sums up the predicament that Virat Kohli now finds himself in.
This Test series was not meant to resemble any sort of street fight. Playing India at home is like trying to find the weakness in the Death Star. You can’t just fly an X-Wing at it and hope to defeat it. It took Luke Skywalker three whole movies before he was able to succeed, and even then he had the help of hundreds of resistance fighters, a lightsaber and the Force.
Australia have none of these. They flew to the subcontinent with a bizarre squad of Boba Fetts and Lando Calrissias. Guys like Mitch Marsh, O’Keefe, Renshaw and Wade. A random hoard of bit playing bounty hunters that you would never bet your house on.
The Indian captain entered the arena with the ridiculous form of having made a double hundred in each of his last four Test series. However, this unique figure forgot the trappings of hubris.
Run your mouth off. Be over-emotive. Attack the opposition media. Taunt those who taunted you about your taunted shoulder injury.
And why not? He’s Virat Kohli. He’s the Raj of India. He’s about to whitewash Australia 4-0. In the process, he will most likely set new amazing batting records.
Well, that was the plan.
However, Kohli turned right at Alberquerque. He should have turned left.
And while he was busy working out that he had made a mistake, the resistance arrived. Their tails are up and only a few correct moves away from destroying the Indian Death Star.
You know you have been broken when you average less than 10 in a home Test series. You know you have been broken when you storm out onto the balcony and applause a DRS decision like a kid with a sugar high at Xmas. You know you have been broken when instead of facing all comers, you dodge basic questions from Australian journalists like Hilary Clinton attempting to explain sending those emails from home. You think that taunting Glenn Maxwell who taunted you is the obvious way forward.
It’s clear you have been broken when your opposition counterpart does none of these things.
Instead, Smith just makes runs. A stupid amounts of runs.
So many runs that his Test average of 60 has actually increased while playing on the worst pitches in the world, against the best spinners in the world in the harshest environment in the world.
Imagine that when Kohli got to Alberquerque, he took a right turn instead? Instead of churlish outbursts, he made hundreds. Instead of DRS appearing to be more complex than how Ravi Shastri’s mind works, he used it properly.
Instead of this series giving us a peak up under the Kohli kimono to see a panicked man, he quietly built on his reputation as some sort of cricketing Genius Khan?
Steve Smith has. Virat Kohli hasn’t.
While we compare Smith to Bradman, we are now lining up Kohli against the maligned Mitch Marsh.
It’s as if Kohli is South Africa and this is a World Cup semi final.
At the moment he looks like Tarzan, but is playing like Jane.
It’s not so much that Australia have broken him through their own actions. It’s more accurate that Kohli has chosen the wrong path. Unlike Mohammad Ali, Kohli hasn’t been able to better his bravado with great results.
India will more than likely win this series. Guys like Ashwin, Jadeja and Pujara are too good to lose at home.
But it will be Smith who walks away ahead. Not Kohli.
Virat took the wrong turn at Alberquerque folks.