“I’ll be playing a Test at Lord’s for the first time, so all in all a very exciting tour because I have never played Test cricket here before. I am looking forward to it. I have some goals to achieve, and I have been thinking about them. I am pretty excited about playing here, and it is right up there with the toughest venues for sub-continent players. A pretty special place to play cricket,” Virat Kohli had declared at the start of the series.
Four innings, four failures. It’s unlike the batsman who has known no failure since the initial time he took to settle down in Test cricket.
India have matched England in the two games so far, but with no contribution from the one expected to lead the team’s charge. At Trent Bridge, Virat was out for one and eight. At Lord’s, he has made 25 (34 balls) and a first-ball duck. In the warm-up games, the returns were 29 and 36 versus Leicestershire and Derbyshire respectively.
Interestingly, in the brief while he has spent at the wicket, he hasn’t looked like someone who is out of touch.
In the first essay at Lord’s, he looked as if he was ready to explode into one of his dominating innings. From the start, he batted fluidly. It looked almost too easy for him till the time he reached 25 off just 34 balls. But, then James Anderson nailed him with an away swinger. In the second essay, he was out in the most embarrassing fashion, shouldering arms to Liam Plunkett.
Virat is giving the impression of trying to prove ‘I am in a different level’. Already rated as among the top three in world cricket, he sure is.
The quality of his game was unmistakable. However, the English conditions pose a different kind of challenge. It’s as much about dominating the ball as it is about leaving it as Murali Vijay has shown in the two games.
Rahul Dravid got his three hundreds the last time here for he was ready to give time to the bowlers before going after them.
getting pace right
It seems more of a case of getting the pace of his innings right. Virat has looked like someone too eager to make an impact, also the way he hits the ground running when he comes out to the crease.
One of the questions being asked is whether he should be careful of the extra scrutiny. When he googles his name presently, it is more about his Bollywood link-up. His actress-girlfriend was probably there in New Zealand too, but no one talked because he got the runs.
When you don’t get runs, the scrutiny increases.
Virat is someone who likes to bare his emotions in public, but in some conditions it pays to be patient at the crease.