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Problems galore for Virat Kohli, on and off the field

Kohli having troubles with his back isn't a new thing

kohli-injury-afp Virat Kohli during the third day of the first Test match between South Africa and India at SuperSport Park in Centurion | AFP

It's hitherto unknown territory for Virat Kohli. The mercurial Indian batting mainstay has not scored an international century in any format in more than two years. He stepped down as the T20 captain after the World Cup earlier this year, and was later sacked as the ODI captain, with Rohit Sharma taking over the reins in the white-ball formats. And he had to sit out of the ongoing second Test against South Africa because of an upper back spasm.

Off the field, too, things went south for Kohli after he publicly contradicted BCCI president Sourav Ganguly's claims that he was asked by the board not to quit the T20 captaincy, and said he was informed about his sacking from ODI leadership only 90 minutes before the Test squad for the tour of South Africa was selected. Though Ganguly refused to further wash dirty linen in public, chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma confirmed that everyone, including BCCI office bearers, requested Kohli to reconsider quitting T20 captaincy for "sake of Indian cricket", but apparently, he had made up his mind.

Also, the age-old speculations of a rift between Sharma and Kohli surfaced once again amid the captaincy controversy, leading to a clarification from the India Test skipper. “I have no problems with Rohit. I have been clarifying this for the last two years. I'm tired of it. Any action or communication from me will never be to demean the team. I am committed to the team.”

And, as if the dip in form and off-field issues were not enough, the upper back spasm has cast a shadow over his fitness now. It could well be a recurrence of the slip disc problem that had stopped him from playing English County cricket in 2018.

A back spasm is sudden tightness and pain in back muscles. It may happen from overuse of muscle or an injury.

Kohli having troubles with his back isn't a new thing. In 2018, he was suffering from a condition called 'herniated disc' (slipped disc) and was advised by the doctor to not play county cricket for Surrey if he wanted to be part of the Test series after that.

The condition didn't warrant a surgery which could have ruled him out for good three to four months.

In case of Kohli, someone who is a fitness freak and pushes his body to the limits, the chances of back injury are always high. It remains to be seen if he recovers within a week to play the third and final Test in Cape Town.

Dravid's remark that Kohli is being "phenomenal" around the group inspite of all the "noise" around him, is being seen as an admission that the feisty Indian Test captain is under pressure. A series win and at least one three-figure score or something close to it will remove a huge load off his chest.

(With PTI inputs)

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