Dravid: With Virat, people get a bit obsessed with statistics

"But for us, it's not really about looking at how many runs he makes. It's about the contributions"

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
Virat Kohli started off slowly before opening up his shoulders, India vs Hong Kong, Asia Cup, Dubai, August 31, 2022

Rahul Dravid on Virat Kohli: We are happy with his performance  •  Getty Images

Hear it loud and clear. Rahul Dravid is not concerned over Virat Kohli's form and while people on the outside may be "a bit obsessed with his statistics and numbers", the people on the inside know their former captain is worth much more than the fifties and hundreds he can score.
"He played very well in the last match [against Hong Kong], and we are happy with his performance," Dravid said. "He is also coming back after a gap of almost a month. It's nice to the see that he has come back fresh and that he is looking forward to playing every game. Not that he wasn't looking forward to playing every game earlier."
In a chat with Star Sports prior to the Asia Cup, Kohli had touched upon the reasons for his lack of runs. He was point blank when he said, he had been "trying to fake intensity a bit" in his determination to keep playing. At the time, Kohli also opened up about how the demands of his schedule had affected his love for training, something that "disturbed" him and made him realise he needed "to step away" for some time.
It appears to have worked. India captain Rohit Sharma saw a freshness to Kohli when the team first got together for this tournament in the UAE and Dravid agreed with that assessment.
"Sometimes with Virat, he is just one of those guys who is always on," Dravid said. "It's not that earlier he was not. It's nice, I'm glad he has had that opportunity to take a break, come back refreshed and relaxed. He's got a chance to be out in the middle, spend some time in the middle. Hopefully from here he can kick on have a really good tournament."
Kohli has made scores of 35 and 59* in two knocks so far. His innings against Pakistan had all the Kohli elements. He didn't seem rusty, but he wasn't entirely in control either. There were shots that left you in awe and shots that had you clenching your teeth. Against Hong Kong, he overcame a slow start and played the perfect foil to Suryakumar Yadav as both batters hit contrasting half-centuries.
Dravid emphasised on how, for the team management, it was about looking at Kohli's performances through a prism that doesn't always lay all the emphasis on big scores. "For us, it's not really about looking at how many runs he makes. I know that especially with Virat people get a bit obsessed with his statistics and his numbers.
"For us, it's about the contributions he can make in different phases in the game and what the contribution is. It doesn't have to be in fifties or hundreds or a stat. Even small contributions mean a lot in T20 cricket, what is the role of a player and what the team needs. Virat is very keen in putting in big performances. Hopefully he can keep doing that in the tournament."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo