What’s the story?
Australian selector and batting great Mark Waugh has taken potshots at Indian skipper Virat Kohli for his costly moment of indecision during the opening day of the second Test in Bengaluru. The 51-year old went on to claim that the star right-hander’s negative approach has poured onto the other Indian batsmen too.
“That's a brain fade. I know the ball before bounced and hit him on the thigh pad and he's a bit worried about those two men on the leg side but that's bread and butter for an Indian batsman (especially) a class player. You just tuck that off the hip. It was very un-Kohli like. He made a point of saying 'we need to play with much more intent in this game' but he's been the prime example of not actually doing that.“
“He's just thinking negatively because there are men around the bat. He's thinking if it bounces, he might get an inside edge. As a batsman, you can't think like that. He can hit that ball in his sleep for runs. He's obviously thinking a little bit negatively and that's rubbed off on a few of his teammates.“
Coming into this Test on the back of a massive defeat in Pune, India won the toss this time around. However, they were unable to take advantage of it and collapsed in a heap for just 189 from 71.2 overs. Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon registered scarcely believable figures of 8/50 to leave the Indian batsmen gasping for breath.
The heart of the matter
Kohli himself was at the forefront of some very ordinary batting. Coming into bat in the post lunch session with the scorecard reading 72/2, he struggled to find his rhythm. The game-changing 34th over began with Lyon getting one to turn and bounce sharply which thudded onto his thigh pad.
However, the 28-year old responded by unfurling a glorious cover drive. Lyon’s riposte was even more damning. His line became much straighter thus forcing Kohli to defend. In the penultimate ball of the over, the cat-and-mouse game ended when the Indian captain bizarrely shouldered arms despite getting on his back foot. With this one not turning as much, he was pinned in front. To make matters worse, he ended up wasting a review as well.
After watching his team get rolled over for a below par score, Kohli‘s agony did not end. When Ajinkya Rahane dropped David Warner at gully, he could only afford a resigned smile. With Australia reaching 40/0 at the end of the day’s play, India need something special from their spinners to come back into the contest.
Despite arriving into this series in dominant form, Kohli has been unable to make a mark thus far. Upon chasing a wide one delivery in the first innings of the Pune Test, he followed it up by shouldering arms to a straighter delivery in the second essay. Now, another shocking leave from him has raised question marks on his approach. While Waugh’s statements resemble a typical Aussie taunt, Kohli’s batting in this series until now deserves criticism.