In full pomp, Virat Kohli is a sight to watch. But Rajkot offered a different picture of Kohli in the second innings. He prodded, defended and nudged balls more than he would normally do. He didn’t even wait for that one run that could have brought up a much-deserved fifty.
For the India captain, that innings opened up a new facet of batting, one he insists on learning so as to save matches. “My biggest challenge was to not think too much about the situation that I was in. I think to find that balance was a revelation for my own mindset,” said Kohli about that innings.
“Sometimes you tend to overthink, thinking too much about where the bowler is going to bowl or what he is going to do next to get you out, how much time is left in the game,” he said.
“Rather than that I was just focusing on one ball at a time and trying to take my mind off the situation. Actually, that helps a lot, not thinking too much about that situation,” he said.
Curbed natural instinct
What made that innings more special was the way Kohli curbed his natural instinct in the face of the disaster that was happening at the other end, with one wicket falling after another. He could have easily been perturbed by it, even distracted enough to maybe give away his wicket. But Kohli’s concentration made the difference.
“You need to put your mind on the back burner as soon as possible, and to play that one particular delivery. So I think that was something that was a challenge for me and I was able to do that in the second innings,” said Kohli.
He has scored heavily in all formats but Kohli said that innings in Rajkot gave him a different high. It was similar to the innings he had played in Kolkata during the second Test against New Zealand last month. On a seaming pitch with variable bounce, he ensured India made it through a critical phase of the game. He didn’t get a fifty in that game too.
But in all probability, Kohli is now a more complete batsman because innings like these. “That gave me more satisfaction as a batsman than scoring a hundred or getting a big score. Taking up challenges is something that always feels nice when you achieve it. As I said, it was an opportunity for me to learn as well and that’s something that I learnt about myself,” he said.