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5 Reasons why Virat Kohli is successful in England Conditions

Easily India would have won the 1st test against England, had at least one batsman in the top-6 supported Virat Kohli from the other side.

Unfortunately, it was not the case, and India suffered a close defeat in Edgbaston, and hence, the record of “No Asian team have won a test match in Edgbaston” stays.

The entire test match, to me, was a test of the characters.

One who has the right technique, the consistency of temperament and the burning desire to stay put in the crease, wins and the others don’t.

Batting had been a complete failure with both the teams, except a very few. And one that stood out was the combined score of 200 by Virat Kohli in both the innings. It is not surprising that Virat scored 22-percent of all runs in the match.

It was delightful to watch Virat Kohli in England conditions.

So what separates Virat Kohli from the others?

Virat is always good at flicking and pulling the balls and is a master in controlling and guiding the inswing deliveries in the leg-side. So, the deliveries which were angling towards the stumps were played more comfortable by him.

But the real threat occurs when the ball swings the other way – the fiery out-swingers.

So how did Virat handled them on his way to the big hundred on Edgbaston?

So here are five techniques, I believe played a vital role in Virat Kohli’s answers to the English condition and their bowlers.

 

Virat’s stance

One thing I have noted in Virat Kohli’s batting stance very interesting, in the Edgbaston test, is he was standing very much down the popping crease.

It was this ‘little more than his usual’ standing position that confused the bowlers’ with their length and line.

One way to tackle this stance was to bowl short balls which were bowled in times by Ben Stokes. But Virat looked like he was expecting them and in most times he was happily letting them go.

And by standing well down the crease, Virat was managed to get away with few LBW calls going in his favour too.

Virat test batting technique

 

Long Stride Front foot Action

Along with the unusual stance, Virat used his long strides front foot action to get closer to the ball.

Virat’s forward strides ensured that the ball is played along the ground and the weight goes behind the shot.

One of the most important logic in playing this shot is to make sure that the top hand is firmly controlling the handle and the bottom hand is loose.

By getting closer to the ball, he was able to play in the intended direction most of the times.

 

Keeping the scoreboard ticking

One important thing the other Indian batsmen should learn from Virat is:

‘Picking up singles and rotating the strikes is the best defence in the English Conditions’

This positive intent is what made the top-3 run scorers of the 1st Test – Virat Kohli, Jonny Bairstow, and Joe Root more effective than the others.

To me, Jonny Bairstow’s 88-balls 70 in the 1st Innings was the game-changing innings as it came at the perfect time for the hosts. It reminded me of AB de Villiers invaluable innings of 35(50) in Capetown in the 1st Test of India’s tour to South Africa earlier this year.

Even the other modern-day legends like Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis & Kane Williamson are successful because of their ability to making singles more often than others.

Once the strike is rotated, it automatically disturbs the bowlers’ idea of setting up a particular batsman in his following deliveries.

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Respecting the conditions

This is one thing that is common among some of the bests in the game.

Respecting the conditions and playing according to that makes a batsman less vulnerable.

One such instance is, Virat Kohli, who is known for his mastered cover drives, showed very less intent to play the shot against the swinging deliveries.

He was okay to let them go as most of the other Indian batsmen fell when they went fishing for the balls, which were turning at its best.

Virat Kohli Square Drive

When the ball is swinging away from your body at this angle, one best shot to play is Square-drive.

With the S-drive, the ball meets the face of the bat and thereby avoids the edges of the bat in most of the occasions.

Joe Root is one player, who plays S-drives really well, and that’s why he is one of the best in swinging conditions.

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Virat understood it very early in his innings and was able to adapt his game sooner than others.

 

Playing with Soft hands

‘Play with soft hands and the nicked balls are not carrying to the slips.’

This mantra of Soft hands is not an easy skill to master, even though it looks like one.

Virat does it willfully very often and the others simply don’t.

 

End-Note

The Innings played by Virat Kohli in England conditions shows how fast he can learn in International Cricket and that is why he is among one of the bests in the game.

With him leading the side, it is always an added pressure and fortunately, he is able to cope up with it brilliantly.

Read: Why Virat Kohli is a better captain than the former Indian captains?

Now with the 2nd test starting on 9th of August, there are things to be improved on both the sides. And I am sure, the team that comes up with more answers to the queries raised by the opposition in the 1st test will end up dominating.

But otherwise, the series has been set up really nice and there are 4 more interesting test matches to follow.

 

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