An understated extension of Virat Kohli’s bravado is his positioning in the slips, standing way too forward and away from the usual formation; bouncy track and flying top-edged slashes be damned. In theory, it gives you less time to react and jump. But India captain’s superior fitness helps him negate that added difficulty quotient.
On Friday, Kohli took flight and plucked one out of the air to dismiss Peter Handscomb. The landing was as impressive as the take-off. He landed on the right, regained the footing, and broke into a celebratory jog.
The ridiculous easiness and nonchalant athleticism displayed in that split-second is all about reactions and agility, as Kohli explained in the web talk show Breakfast with Champions.
“it’s about margins… a second here and there,” Kohli told host Gaurav Kapur. “The distance, from point A to point B. If you cover it in two seconds, it’s an easy catch. If you take three, then ‘oh, what a great effort.’”
A “great effort” like KL Rahul’s, who did well to reach a Marcus Harris-slash off Mohammad Shami, in what was nearly the mirror image of the Handscomb dismissal. Yes, Rahul — standing at a more conventional second-slip position for the left-handed Harris — had to move to his left, but he also had to move considerably less. Rahul, who was still rising as the ball burst through his outstretched fingers, was slow to react and couldn’t time his jump to Kohliesque perfection.
“You go for a catch, and you drop it. People say, ‘wow, great effort,’ Kohli told Kapur. “But what was your acceleration from point A to point B? How much did you train for it? What is your nutrition like? Did you sleep well the night before or not? All these things determine the final outcome. Today’s game is completely different. If you don’t evolve and train, you will be left behind.”