Team India batting coach Vikram Rathour has disagreed with the viewpoint that Virat Kohli should stop playing expansive drives outside the off stump as it has been getting him out way too often. However, Rathour conceded that the Indian captain needs to be judicious about his shot selection.
Kohli was dismissed multiple times flashing outside the off stump during the Test tour of England, a few of them to deliveries he could have easily left alone. The pattern has been repeated in the Centurion Test, with Kohli succumbing to deliveries outside off stump while playing loose strokes in both innings.
Amid a raging debate among cricket fans over whether Kohli needs to temper his aggression till he rediscovers batting form, Rathour stated that cutting out those strokes is not a solution. Speaking at the end of the fourth day’s play in Centurion, the batting coach opined:
“These are shots which brings him (Kohli) lots of runs and it’s his scoring shot. He needs to play that shot and I think it is always your strength that turns out to be your weakness as well.”
The 52-year-old pointed out that if a batter doesn’t play a certain shot, he will never get out playing that shot. Trying to drive home his point, Rathour elaborated:
“You will never score runs as well. Now, when to play that shot, that’s the part there are constant discussions. Was it right all and right stage to play that shot? If we can tighten up our game-plans a little more, that will be better. So that’s the shot he (Kohli) plays well and he needs to carry on playing that shot but he needs to pick better balls.”
Despite Kohli’s twin failures in the Centurion Test, India are well-placed to go 1-0 in the three-match series, weather permitting. Set 305, South Africa stumbled to 94 for 4 by Stumps on Day 4.
Deep Dasgupta dismisses suggestions asking Kohli to stop playing drives
In a discussion on ESPNCricinfo, former keeper-batter Deep Dasgupta shared similar views to Rathour about Kohli’s repetitive mode of dismissals. Stressing that not playing strokes is not a logical solution, he explained:
“If you start taking shots away every time you get out to a particular shot, you won’t be left with any shots. The idea is not to take it away but obviously get into the execution side of things. I don’t think it’s a technical issue. It’s more about him being a little too anxious. We keep talking about him not getting a hundred since November 2019. I just get a feeling that he’s a little too eager to get to a hundred. In that eagerness, at times, the shot selection isn’t great.
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Following his second-innings dismissal on Wednesday, Kohli went without an international century for the second year running. His last ton came during the day-night Test against Bangladesh in November 2019.