All’s Not Well: Back problem resurfaces for captain Kohli after 2018 as he grapples on and off-field issues

The
Indian
skipper
missed
out
on
what
would
have
been
his
99th
Test
match
for
the
country
on
the
morning
of
the
second
game
against
South
Africa
here,
adding
to
the
intriguing
drama
that
is
unfolding
around
him
on
an
almost
daily
basis
now.

This
was
after
the
skipper
had
a
good
net
session
at
the
Wanderers
on
Sunday
afternoon
and
coach
Rahul
Dravid,
as
is
his
wont
is,
didn’t
drop
the
slightest
hint
that
the
skipper
has
niggling
back
issues
which
have
resurfaced
after
nearly
three
and
half
years.

Kohli,
in
fact,
had
posted
some
snap-shots
of
his
training
session
where
he
was
seen
lunging
forward
and
playing
the
on-drive.
It
was
obvious
that
he
felt
fine
as
he
went
through
an
intense
net
session
only
to
develop
discomfort
on
the
morning
of
the
Test
match.

Interestingly,
his
IPL
team
Royal
Challengers
Bangalore
had
tweeted
a
picture
of
KL
Rahul
with
a
tweet
“The
focus
shifts
to
the
Wanderers
as
#TeamIndia
have
a
chance
to
seal
the
series.”

Nothing
wrong
with
the
tweet
save
the
fact
that
it
was
posted
at
12
noon
IST,
at
least
one
hour
before
Kohli’s
injury
status
was
revealed
at
the
toss
by
Rahul,
who
is
not
a
part
of
the
RCB
set-up.

Although
to
be
fair
to
them,
it
didn’t
mention
Rahul
as
India
captain.
Kohli
having
trouble
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
surgery
which
could
have
ruled
him
out
for
a
good
three
to
four
months.
A
back
spasm
is
a
sudden
tightness
and
pain
in
the
back
muscles.
It
may
happen
from
overuse
of
a
muscle
or
an
injury.

In
the
case
of
Kohli,
someone
who
is
a
fitness
freak
and
pushes
his
body
to
the
limits,
the
chances
of
back
injury
are
always
high
and
as
one
reaches
the
mid-30s,
the
recovery
takes
more
time.

If
Kohli
recovers
within
a
week
to
play
the
third
and
final
Test
in
Cape
Town
it
would
then
mean
that
it
wasn’t
very
serious,
just
like
Ajinkya
Rahane’s
hamstring
niggle
that
ruled
him
out
of
the
Wankhede
Test,
a
day
after
he
had
a
full
session
at
the
BKC
Indoor
Centre.

With
India
1-0
up,
Kohli
must
have
wanted
to
play
this
game
and
get
back
to
form
which
has
deserted
him
for
almost
two
years
now.
He
was
seen
sombrely
ambling
around
the
Bull
Ring
before
the
start
of
the
game
and
looked
visibly
disappointed
on
having
to
miss
a
game.

If
runs
have
dried
up
on
the
field,
his
off-the-field
relationship
with
the
BCCI
hasn’t
exactly
made
matters
easy
for
him
as
the
establishment’s
poster
boy
isn’t
now
on
very
good
terms
with
the
big
wigs
of
the
board.

So
much
so
that
someone
like
Dravid,
who
always
likes
a
healthy
distance
from
controversies,
acknowledged
that
Kohli
is
being
“phenomenal”
around
the
group
in
spite
of
all
the
“noise”
around
him.
It
was
an
admission
that
the
feisty
Indian
Test
captain
is
under
pressure
and
perhaps
a
series
win
and
at
least
one
three-figure
score
or
something
close
to
it
will
remove
a
huge
load
off
his
chest.

Kohli
would
have
surely
addressed
the
media
before
the
Cape
Town
Test
starting
January
11
had
it
been
his
landmark
100th
game
in
the
traditional
format.
That’s
what
Dravid
had
promised
on
the
eve
of
the
second
Test.

Once
“back
spasm”
ruled
him
out
of
contention
from
the
second
Test,
it
does
not
exactly
seem
to
be
the
best
of
times
for
the
megastar,
who
is
battling
on-field
issues
as
batter
and
off-field
differences
with
the
establishment.

Now
it
can’t
be
said
with
any
degree
of
certainty
that
whether
he
would
be
in
a
mood
to
take
questions
from
media
ahead
of
his
99th
Test.
In
any
case,
the
degree
of
relevance
between
99
and
100
is
so
vast,
one
can
only
wonder
as
to
what
exactly
are
the
odds
that
he
might
not
come.
But
then
Kohli
is
a
non-conformist
and
could
do
exactly
what
nobody
is
apprehending
him
to
do.

If
India
win
the
series
in
South
Africa,
what’s
left
to
achieve
for
the
maverick
superstar.
There
could
be
some
more
surprises
in
store
for
cricket
lovers
and
no
one
can
quite
guess
at
this
point,
what
it
could
all
lead
to
in
the
coming
few
months.

  • End
    of
    Test
    career
    for
    Cheteshwar
    Pujara,
    Ajinkya
    Rahane?
    Who
    are
    their
    replacements?
  • ‘Pujara
    &
    Rahane
    have
    become
    Purane’,
    claim
    Twitterati
    as
    Cheteshwar
    Pujara,
    Ajinkya
    Rahane
    disappoint
    again
  • Virat
    Kohli
    vs
    BCCI:
    Will
    Kohli
    resign
    from
    Test
    captaincy
    of
    India?
  • Virat
    Kohli
    last
    international
    century
    date
    in
    all
    formats:
    India
    batting
    maestro’s
    career
    since
    2019
  • India
    v
    South
    Africa,
    2nd
    Test:
    Virat
    Kohli
    misses
    Wanderers
    Test
    due
    to
    back
    spasm;
    KL
    Rahul
    leads,
    India
    bat
  • India
    vs
    South
    Africa,
    2nd
    Test:
    Live
    Telecast,
    Live
    Streaming,
    IST
    Time
    of
    New
    Year
    Test
    at
    Johannesburg
  • You
    don’t
    expect
    anyone
    of
    his
    calibre
    to
    retire
    at
    that
    age:
    Boucher
    on
    de
    Kock’s
    retirement
  • South
    Africa
    give
    maiden
    ODI
    call-up
    to
    Marco
    Jansen,
    Quinton
    de
    Kock
    to
    lead
    Proteas
  • Rahul
    Dravid
    reacts
    to
    India’s
    over-rate
    penalty
    in
    WTC,
    admits
    ‘team
    needs
    to
    get
    better
    at
    it’
  • There
    won’t
    be
    any
    hangover
    on
    the
    players
    about
    Quinton
    de
    Kock’s
    retirement:
    Dean
    Elgar
  • South
    African
    team
    media
    manager
    Sokanyile
    to
    ring
    bell
    for
    second
    Test
    against
    India
  • Bumrah’s
    elevation
    as
    ‘stop-gap’ ODI
    deputy
    ahead
    of
    Pant,
    Iyer
    is
    selectors’
    way
    of
    “avoiding
    clutter”

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