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Challenges for Virat Kohli in 2017

India Today logo India Today 03-01-2017

Virat Kohli had a phenomenal 2016 scoring 2,595 runs in 41 international matches this year to go along with 973 runs in the Indian Premier League. Kohli lived up to the tag of India's best batsman with a record-breaking year as he averaged over 70 in all three forms of the game.

He also led India to three consecutive Test series wins over West Indies (2-0), New Zealand (3-0) and England (4-0) this year and guided Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to the IPL final.

Kohli will not be playing anymore this year and will only resume the national duty when India host England in a three-match ODI and three T20Is starting January 15.

The onus will once again be on Kohli to replicate his this year's form in 2017. Kohli suffered a few heartbreaks at ICC World Twenty20 and IPL final this year but will want to set things right next year in other competitions, especially ICC Champions Trophy.

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India host Bangladesh in a one-off Test from February 8-12 in Hyderabad. It will be an important match for Kohli and Team India as it will be the first Test of the year. Bangladesh will be touring India for the first time and with conditions similar to their home, the Tigers could prove to be tough opponents.

Bangladesh have grown in stature in last couple of years. They have won limited-overs series against Pakistan, India and South Africa and have been highly competitive in Test cricket. They also bounced back to defeat England for a historic win and draw the two-match series 1-1.


Last time Australia toured India for a Test series, they were bludgeoned 4-0 by Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men. They will tour again for a four-match series in February-March under Steve Smith's leadership.

Australia will be up against a formidable force that is led by Kohli, who settles for nothing less than a win.

Smith's Australia toured Sri Lanka in July-August this year but they suffered 3-0 defeat. Their batsmen fell victim to spin and they will be haunted by its ghosts once they arrive in India for the Test series.

Smith has already started playing the mind games and he wants Kohli to be little angry.

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"He is a very emotional character out on the field, but I think he has improved a lot there. I guess for us as a team it's trying to get him out of the strong emotional state and try and make him, I guess, a little bit angry and ruffle his feathers and things like that."

"I think if you can get him in that state then the Indian team can possibly be a little bit vulnerable," Smith said.

Kohli averages 60.76 against Australia and has been involved in several heated on-field incidents in previous years.

IPL 10

Kohli amassed a record 973 runs in IPL 2016. He broke several records in a record-breaking season. He broke teammate Chris Gayle's record to become the highest scorer in a single edition of the tournament. Kohli surpassed Gayle's 733 runs scored in 2014.

Kohli, who was in breathtaking form this year, also became the first batsman to blast four hundreds in an IPL season.

He also achieved another milestone by becoming IPL's highest run-scorer, going past his India teammate Suresh Raina. Kohli now has 4110 runs, with Raina at 4098 runs and Rohit Sharma at third position with 3874 runs. 

Come April and Kohli will be hoping to go a notch higher. Not only he will focus on scoring runs but will also be keen to guide RCB to title triumph having twice been denied in the past.


Kohli has toured England twice but failed miserably on the seaming conditions. His first tour came in 2013 when India went all the way to lift the ICC Champions Trophy.

Kohli played five matches during the tournament and scored 176 runs with the best score 58 not out. Though he averaged 58.66 but he managed to scored only one fifty.

In 2014, India toured England for a five-match Test series. This was the tour that hurt the 28-year-old the most. Kohli managed only 134 runs in 10 innings at 13.40 with the best score of 39.

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