‘When Surya started hitting, I looked at the dugout. Rohit & Rahul bhai said you could just keep batting on,’ Virat Kohli says after a 48-ball 63
‘When Surya started hitting, I looked at the dugout. Rohit & Rahul bhai said you could just keep batting on,’ Virat Kohli says after a 48-ball 63 How does Virat Kohli decide it’s better to be quiet and let the more attacking partner do more of the hitting even after he has started in an attacking mood as he has regularly done this series against Australia?
At the end of India’s series win over Australia, he would say something like “utilizing my expertise,” adding that he also waits for confirmation from the dugout from captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid.
I glanced toward the dugout as Surya began striking the ball with force. Rohit and Rahul bhai encouraged me to keep batting, saying, “Surya is striking it so good, you can just keep batting on.”
It was all about getting to know each other and laying the groundwork for future collaboration, so I took advantage of my background and kept on the sidelines.
When Suryakumar attempted to hit a six off the final delivery of the 14th over, Kohli immediately changed tactics. Kohli hit a full ball over long-off off Pat Cummins’s second delivery of the next over (the same shot Surya had tried but got out).
After Kohli’s departure, he “tried to take on the first couple of balls, smacked a six off Pat Cummins, and that set me off again.” That’s why I’m batting third; I need to use my knowledge to contribute to the team’s goals.
His matchup with legspinner Adam Zampa was the highlight of the match. Kohli has shown the initiative to take on the spinners a lot more since the Asia Cup, and he would do it against Zampa in the penultimate T20 but fail.
He was trying to get two runs by whipping a full rapid slider to the gaps in the cow corner, but he was bowled after missing the ball by a long shot.
His viewpoint was unique. “Last game, I was a bit disappointed that after hitting him for a four, I went for a double rather than hitting him for a six.”
It’s not a good idea to shoot over the line at Zampa because he usually catches his opponents off guard. Straight or covers are preferable if you must venture to the leg side, and long-on offers more protection from the ball than going too square.
Even Suryakumar Yadav had lost in the previous round because he had attempted to play too squarely. The fight between Yadav and Zampa was also fascinating, but we’ll save that story for another time.
Okay, let’s get back to Kohli vs. Zampa. He didn’t make the mistake of going too much across Sunday night. In the opening over, he turned inside to smash a full delivery through the covers for a boundary.
Zampa’s googlies and sliders become deadly when batters try to work the ball squarely on the leg side. At least in Hyderabad, Kohli avoided that blunder.
Kohli’s intention to play him straighter or to the off was apparent in the difficult return chance he gave Zampa in the seventh over, which Zampa shanked.
In the ninth over, Kohli sashayed down the pitch to loft Zampa over long-on for his greatest shot of the game. It was a ball not too dissimilar from the one that had gotten him out in the previous game, though, as he explained, he wasn’t planning to play him across the line this time.
Instead, he went downtown.
To some extent, I’ve already decided to go after him (Adam Zampa) today. He’s a quality bowler and tries to reduce my scoring rate whenever we play. I knew that he was going to assault the stumps, so I was positioned outside leg already … I got off to a strong start then I had to take down Zampa since he’s an essential bowler through the middle.”
For someone who has been known to play it safe in the T20 format in the past, Kohli has stated that he will be making a “deliberate decision” to increase the pressure in the middle overs. I’m trying to hit big shots in the middle overs for the team’s sake.
He batted against Josh Hazlewood for four balls in the last over but managed only three runs. A ball well outside the box was first allowed to pass to the keeper, assuming it was wide.
Later, he missed connecting with a length ball across the line because he slammed it outside off too much. He’d keep the strike by picking up a pair and a single.
“The game shouldn’t have gone on that long; we should have probably had 4 or 5 to chase in the last over. It was crucial to keep my cool and hit a six on the first ball of the 20th over to secure a single boundary. That one from Sams’s was a bit slower, but Kohli still managed to smash it over long-on.”
“After a short break, I returned to the nets because I was satisfied with my performance and the team’s overall performance. I am having fun with the process and enjoying getting back into shape. I am excited to go to the gym,” he stated.
He went on to talk about how his approach to the crease has evolved.
“I know last game it wasn’t a large score, but I felt I hit two impact boundaries, so I am delighted with my contributions. If I can’t score many runs every game, it’s not because I’m a bad player. So just trying to stay in the space.”