Virat Kohli giving tips to Ind opener for success in England ahead of WTC Final
- WTC Final: Virat Kohli mastered the English conditions in Test cricket during India's tour of 2018, to make amends for his disastrous tour of 2014
The World Test Championship (WTC) Final against New Zealand at Southampton is just the start of a gruelling tour for India as they will play a five-match Test series against England after this. India have been beaten comprehensively by England on their last three tours and Virat Kohli would want to change that statistic.
For India to do well, it is important for them to get good starts at the top of the order and a large part of that onus lies on the shoulders of Rohit Sharma, who has resurrected his red ball career since taking over the duties of opening the innings.
Rohit has been in top form since opening the batting in Test cricket but he has not played Test matches in countries, as an opener, where the ball moves off the deck and in the air. He achieved limited success in Australia, in the two Test matches he played there, but facing up to the new ball bowlers of New Zealand and then England in English conditions will be a huge challenge.
So, how has he been preparing for that challenge? A lot of practice in the nets is the key and Rohit has been doing that. But he also has someone else, apart from the coaching staff, who is giving him first hand knowledge of how to conquer the English conditions.
Yes, Indian captain Virat Kohli has been giving Rohit throwdowns in the nets and has been giving him tips on how to bat in these conditions. With no travelling Indian press, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, this story had remained under the wraps so far. But WTC Final's host broadcaster Star Sports aired shots of Kohli helping Rohit practice in the nets during the build up to the India vs New Zealand encounter and that gave viewers a glimpse of how Rohit is preparing for the ultimate test.
"It is important to share the information about what is the reason behind Virat's success in England on the previous tour. He was disciplined enough to leave the balls outside off stump. Even though he got a century or achieved those milestones he continued to be watchful. I remember the battle against Jimmy Anderson and not once do I remember Virat Kohli playing those flourishing cover drives outside the off stump and that is something Rohit Sharma will have to remember," former India Test batsman VVS Laxman said on Star Sports.
"He just needs to go back and remember how he was successful against South Africa. Even though the series was played in India, he was prepared to leave the balls outside the off stump when Rabada was bowling even after he had scored a century," Laxman added
Batting in English conditions is a lot about knowing how to leave and play deliveries in the channel of uncertainty outside the off stump and Rohit won't get a better coach than Kohli on this.
The India captain, then an upcoming young batsman, was a walking wicket on the 2014 tour of England and managed to score just 134 runs in 10 inning at an abysmal average of 13.4, without even getting a score of 40 or more under his belt.
Fast forward four years and captain Kohli managed to beat his demons and conquer the menacing James Anderson, who had troubled him on the 2014 tour. Kohli scored 593 runs at an average of almost 60, with the help of two centuries and three fifties. But despite his efforts, India lost the series 1-4.
So, it is clear why Kohli's advice is of utmost importance for Rohit Sharma to do well in England.