Sunil Gavaskar attributes Virat Kohli’s success to bat-speed adjustment

Virat Kohli dispelled his horrid run in the 2014 tour of England by scoring 149 and 51 in the first Test at Edgbaston but in a losing cause.

By: Sports Desk | Published: August 10, 2018 9:08:12 pm
Virat Kohli Virat Kohli scored a century and a half ton in the first Test against England. (Source: Reuters)

Legendary India batsman Sunil Gavaskar heaped praise on current India skipper Virat Kohli and his exploits in the first Test between England and India at Edgbaston, Birmingham. ‘Little Master’ said the reason Kohli did well in the opening Test was down to his adjustment with the bat-speed. In the previous tour to England, Kohli could only muster 134 runs in five Tests for a horrid average of 13.40.

“It’s brilliant! The adjustment that he’s made in his bat speed. In 2014, he was feeling for deliveries outside the off-stump. Now he’s waiting for the ball to come, not pushing at the ball as much. At the start, he does. But that happens with everyone,” said Gavaskar to reporters in Mumbai.

Kohli’s ghosts of that awful tour were buried in defiant manner when he scored 149 and 51 in the first Test at Birmingham however it ended in a loss for India by 31 runs.

“The way he’s made that adjustment, mental adjustment, that is brilliant, fantastic. And that is the reason why he was able to get big runs. It’s just that little technical adjustment where he’s not pushing and playing close to the body,” explained Gavaskar, the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket.

As per Gavaskar, English conditions demand a lot more footwork and patience. “It demands a lot more of your footwork, patience, because the ball keeps moving off the surface, you will get the odd scoreable deliveries which you must capitalise on, but in conditions in England like it happened in Birmingham, you have to be more watchful.”

“We did not except such a thing because in June and July the weather was like you get in India. You can never be prepared for these kind of conditions. For players from the sub-continent, it’s not very easy, which is why I keep saying one must play more red-ball cricket, because that gives you a little bit of idea.

“You may not get world class bowlers but at least you will be playing first class bowlers,” said the batting great.

With India trailing 1-0 in the five-match series, Gavaskar expressed optimism that India can make a comeback from here.

“Yes absolutely, they missed out on the opportunity in South Africa, but I do believe that they have the opportunity here because this is five Test series and you can always comeback, even if you are 2 down, you can still come back. It’s been known to happen.”

India were beaten 4-0 in 2011 and also lost the 2014 series in England.

“India has been traditionally slow starters overseas, in the third Test we came back (in South Africa), but if it has been a five-Test series, we could have won fourth and fifth as well. So that is the big plus as this tour is concerned, that the Indian team will get an opportunity to come back and may be win this series,” he added.

Queried how the Indian team can draw themselves into the series, Gavaskar put it on the batsmen to come good and deliver. “Basically, the batsmen have to make some runs. The bowlers are taking 20 wickets; they did that in South Africa as well where they got 60 wickets. Batsmen, even in small totals, were not able to make those runs. But that’s not an Indian situation,” he said.

He also expects young Rishabh Pant to come into the side sooner rather than later. “It is an opportunity for sure and for the third Test he might get into the team. In fact he might get in the team as a batsman down the order rather than as a wicket-keeper. He certainly is in the frame, the fact that he was chosen ahead of everybody else the moment (Wriddhiman) Saha was declared unfit, just tells you the thinking of the selection committee and team management,” he signed off.

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