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In a chat for IPLT20.com with Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli spoke about a net session which helped him get back among the runs. Kohli made 73 off 54 balls while opening the innings against Gujarat Titans at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. His highest score in this IPL season comprised eight fours and two sixes. RCB were chasing 170 and the Kohli-du Plessis partnership worth 115 in 14.3 overs gave them a strong start.
Du Plessis asked him about the process before the game, and Kohli zoomed in on a 90-minute nets session that he believes helped. More than mere hitting in the nets, it’s how Kohli viewed the takeaway from the nets that stands out.
“It has been a very challenging time, no doubt about that. There are lots of things that are not controllable on the field and I have experienced that this season. One thing that stood out for me was my preparation in the nets (a day before the last game). I batted about 90 minutes on the go. All I was trying to do was to get into a positive frame of mind every ball I played.
“I wasn’t thinking what if the ball turns, or what if it seams or swings, I was just watching the ball and reacting. And telling myself to take the most positive option that I can possibly take. I just extended that into the game today. There are moments where you feel a bit doubtful. But as soon as the bowler runs in to bowl you have to tell yourself, just watch the ball and hit it.”
One such moment of potential doubt came pretty early in the piece when Mohammad Shami got the ball to hit the deck just back of length. In the past few games, we have seen Kohli approach similar balls tentatively. Umesh Yadav had got one to curve away with bounce from a similar length and he had poked out an edge. In another game, Dushmantha Chameera had one bursting up and Kohli had tried to ride the bounce in his usually wristy-waft sort of way, but couldn’t keep it down.
This time, though, his response was different. He just leaned forward to cream it on the up, through the line, and sent it soaring over mid-off. It was, he says, exactly what he had planned for in the nets session. “The very first shot I played off Shami I felt like that [that this could be his day]. It was a length ball and hit it over his head.
If I could hit a length ball over bowler’s head for a six or a four, I know I am in a good space as I am then not bothered about balls being pitched in right areas. If I can hit good balls, I know that I am going to get balls with which I can hit fours,” he told Bhogle.
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