Kohli's Chepauk Conundrum: Can He Conquer the Fortress?

Kohli’s Chepauk Conundrum: Can He Conquer the Fortress?

Virat Kohli, the prolific run-scorer in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has yet to conquer the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai while representing the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Despite amassing 7263 runs in 237 IPL matches, Kohli’s average at the Chepauk is a modest 30, with a strike rate of 111.10.

Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes Kohli needs to step up his performance at the Chepauk, especially against the defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL opener on March 22. “The greatness of Virat has been reduced in terms of his overall performance at that venue,” Harbhajan said. “It’s a tricky venue to bat, especially as an opening batsman against a sort of weird tennis ball type bounce.”

Kohli has been dismissed in the Powerplays three times in his last five innings against CSK, and Harbhajan emphasized the importance of extending his time at the crease. “If he’s actually prepared to bat about 20 overs, then he can put together a match-winning performance,” he said.

Kohli has yet to score an IPL century at Chepauk, and his record against CSK is also underwhelming. In 30 matches against CSK, he has scored 985 runs, with a highest score of 90. Harbhajan believes Kohli needs to rediscover his 2016 form for RCB to challenge for the IPL title. “It’s important for him to have a season like 2016, because if Virat goes on to score runs, the team will go forward,” he said.

In 2016, Kohli had an exceptional IPL season, amassing 973 runs from 16 matches, featuring four centuries and seven fifties. This remarkable performance still stands as the highest run-aggregate in a single IPL season.