'They got lot of easy pitches. These players need spaces to score runs': Rashid Latif on Kohli, Smith's century drought

Updated on Mar 22, 2022 02:54 PM IST

Smith last reached the triple figure mark in Manchester in 2019 with his epic 211 while Kohli last scored a hundred in the Bangladesh Pink Ball Test in Kolkata that same year en route to the match-winning 136

Steve Smith; Rashid Latif; Virat Kohli
Steve Smith; Rashid Latif; Virat Kohli

A solid start, the half-century appreciation, then a dismissal out of nowhere, a bewildered look and finally the long walk - this has been the story of Steve Smith and Virat Kohli in Tests since 2019. Smith last reached the triple figure mark in Manchester in 2019 with his epic 211 while Kohli last scored a hundred in the Bangladesh Pink Ball Test in Kolkata that same year en route to the match-winning 136. While the reasons remain unknown for the two modern-era legends, former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif feels that they have been accustomed to batting in home pitches.

The discussion was reignited after Smith was dismissed for 59 in the first innings of the Lahore Test against Pakistan. His other two scores were 78 and 72. Any other player in the world, even their teammates, would gladly take up those scores. They aren't bad at all, but they are not of the standard of Smith, who has in the past scored centuries at will.

Speaking on YouTube show Caught Behind, Latif opined that players like Kohli and Smith have been acclimatised to batting at home and to conditions where there are any fielders in their desired are of hitting. He also admitted that Smith has been batting better than he was during the Ashes series earlier this year.

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"I feel they have got a lot many easy pitches there (home). They are those kinds of players who need places and conditions. Look at Steve Smith, the two boundaries he hit were worth watching..so that is the kind of field placements he needed - no cover or mid-wicket or the area in front of him remains vacant. And once he starts scoring runs, fielders are placed according and he gets bogged down," he said.

For Kohli, the century drought has been across formats, stretching to 72 innings since that knock in Kolkata. He has crossed the fifty-run mark 22 times, but is yet to score his 71st international ton.

"Fact is there is a lot of pressure here and he is actually playing better here than he was during the Ashes. I think were are affecting his run-scoring, reducing it by 25-30 runs which adds to his century-less streak for every innings. He should have gotten a century. For Virat Kohli as well, the pitch factor is there again. But it will come and once it starts you just begin counting," Latif added.

While Smith is likely to get another opportunity to get to his century, Kohli will have to wait until end of IPL 2022 season to have an attempty to reach the mark.

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