Indian cricket team ‘main man’ and captain Virat Kohli credited former India cricketers – Sachin Tendulkar and Ravi Shastri for helping him to overcome his weaknesses after the forgettable tour of England in 2014. Kohli has often spoken about the horrors of 2014 and called it the toughest test of his glittering international career. Kohli averaged a poor 13.40 in 10 innings against England, with his highest-score being 39. Expectations were high from Kohli as he was coming to England after doing immensely well against Australia in Australia. He scored four tons in four games in Down Under, including two in Adelaide. Also Read - India's Probable Squad For ICC World Test Championship Final vs New Zealand: Will Hardik Pandya, Prithvi Shaw, Prasidh Krishna Make Virat Kohli-Led Side?
The Delhi-born cricketer put behind his failures in England with technical inputs from Tendulkar and head coach Shastri and came out all guns blazing in 2018 against the same opposition. The lesson of ‘forward press against fast bowlers’ from Tendulkar and a tip from coach to stand outside the crease led to his transformation as a prolific Test batsman. Also Read - Selectors to Take a Call on Hardik Pandya, Prithvi Shaw, Prasidh Krishna For WTC Final - Report
In a chat with Mayank Agarwal for ‘bcci.tv’, the Indian skipper decoded his technical changes post that England tour. Also Read - IPL 2021: Virender Sehwag Picks 'Under The Radar' Player of The Tournament
“The 2014 (tour) will be a milestone in my career. Lot of people take good tours as a milestone in their careers but for me 2014 will be a milestone,” Kohli told Agarwal in the show ‘Open Nets with Mayank’.
“I came back from England and spoke to Sachin Paaji and had a few sessions with him in Mumbai. I told him that I am working on my hip position. He made me realize the importance of big stride, a forward press against fast bowlers,” Kohli explained.
“The moment I started doing that with my hip alignment, things started falling in place nicely and then the Australia tour happened,” said India skipper.
The 31-year-old explained what went wrong in England and how he realized it. “My hip position was an issue during that England tour. It was basically not adjusting to the conditions and doing what I wanted to do. So being rigid doesn’t take you anywhere. It was a long and painful realization but I realized it,” he said.
The opening of hip limited his shot-making ability, Kohli realized.
“One thing stood out, right hip opens or closes too much you now you are in trouble. Keep that hip position nice and side-on and balanced so that you can play through both off side and leg side with equal control is very very important,” he said.
Anderson was taking him out mainly with outgoing deliveries.
“I was too worried thinking about the ball that might come in. I was opening up a bit too early so the ball that was going away I was getting out to it every time. I just couldn’t get past that confusion,” he admitted.
However with the tweak in technique also came a tweak in his stance, which was suggested by Shastri (Team Director in 2014-15) just before the start of 2014-15 Australia tour and the rest is history.
“He (Shastri) told me one thing, to stand outside the crease. He explained the mindset behind it. ‘You should be in control of the space you are playing in and not giving opportunities to the bowler to get you out’.”
Shastri also explained the logic that by standing outside the crease, so many dismissals get taken out.
“So I started practicing that the same year and the results were unbelievable.”
There was another interesting little chat with Shastri which was an example of Kohli’s determination. “Ravi bhai asked me that if I was scared of short ball,” Kohli laughed.
“I said I am not scared and I don’t mind getting hurt but I don’t want to get out,” the India skipper added.