Virat Kohli played his first cover drive after facing 40 deliveries. He had 89 dot balls in his innings. The Indian Test captain came into this game with the murmurs over his form growing louder – 652 runs in 14 Tests at an average of 26 in the last two years and no century. On Tuesday at Newlands, he revelled in his batting discipline.
The Indian team batting coach Vikram Rathour spoke about it at the end of the day’s play. “One good change today was that he (Kohli) was more disciplined. I agree with that. He looked really good, really solid. With more luck, he could have converted this into a big one,” Rathour told reporters.
Kohli was playing a lone ranger and eventually perished, trying to farm the strike. The conditions were tough and Kagiso Rabada was bowling brilliantly. “They (South Africa) bowled really, really well. And he had to bat like that. That’s how he responded. It was a disciplined innings and he was looking very good till the point he got out,” said the batting coach.
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Shutting out the outside noise, the team saw Kohli’s form from a different perspective. “There was never any concern the way he was batting. He was always batting well. As a batting coach, I was never concerned that he wasn’t batting well. He was looking very good in the nets. He was looking very good in the games also. He was getting starts,” Rathour observed.
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Kohli had a conversation with the coaching staff following his dismissal at Centurion, chasing a wide delivery. Rathour touched upon it. “When he played that wide delivery, I thought that was just lapse in concentration. He still played some cover drives today and looked really, really solid. But he picked the right balls. That’s what the conversations were about; that he needs to be a little bit selective for that shot.”
Some technical adjustments were evident during Kohli’s innings; a back-and-across movement towards the middle stump, allowing him to deal with the deliveries in the corridor a lot better. Also, his front toe was pointing towards mid-off rather than squarer while playing cover drives. “A little bit of adjustments here and there. Of course we were discussing, but no major changes,” said Rathour.
After a half-century in the second innings at Wanderers, Ajinkya Rahane once again got out cheaply today. The batting coach, however, spoke about giving the players a sense of security. “He (Rahane) has played a couple of good innings in this series as well. The only concern is that he needs to convert one of those starts into a big one and that’s what he is trying. I can assure you that this management will want to give one extra chance than one less.”