Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Credits: Twitter)

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Sanjay Manjrekar detailed Virat Kohli’s struggles and offered a potential solution for the Indian Test captain. Virat Kohli’s disappointing run in Test cricket has been a cause of concern for the side.  In the first innings, Kohli was well set having faced 94 deliveries, scoring 35 runs before he was dismissed chasing a wide-ish ball from Lungi Ngidi, a delivery that was well down the sixth or seventh stump line.

In the second innings, he was dismissed in a similar fashion by young Marco Jansen, scoring 18 runs.  The Indian Test captain made a bright start to the first innings of the Centurion Test against South Africa but gave his wicket away rather cheaply, as he chased a delivery wide outside the off-stump. He was dismissed in a similar manner in the second innings too, which led to many experts– including former captain Sunil Gavaskar – suggesting that he could curb his cover drives.

Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]
Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]

Sanjay Manjrekar: Virat Kohli Is Only Playing On The Front Foot

As cover-drive has been Virat Kohli’s one of the most rewarding strokes in his career, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar believes that Virat Kohli has been lunging forward “no matter what” over the past few months and that is causing him troubles.

“Clearly, a guy who is going through an inevitable bad patch. You start losing confidence and then all got confused. I’m sure there is a lot of advice coming in his direction on leaving the balls outside the off-stump. But then, he might be thinking if he starts leaving those balls, where do I get those runs? Because the cover drive is one of his main shots,” said Sanjay Manjrekar.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

“Something that I noticed for a year and a half, is the technique that Virat Kohli has started to trust, which is about lunging forward and getting onto that front foot no matter what. And that is hindering a lot of his batting. If you look at the strike rate in the last year or so, against New Zealand in WTC to the first innings in South Africa, 30-40. It is all to do because he is only playing on the front foot,” said Sanjay Manjrekar.

Virat Kohli’s wait for an international century, which has gone on for over two years, continued in the first Test as he was dismissed in an almost identical manner in both innings. Virat Kohli was caught at slips in both innings while reaching for a ball outside off stump away from his body.

Sanjay Manjrekar Suggests Virat Kohli To Start Getting On The Backfoot A Little

Sanjay Manjrekar believes that Virat Kohli should start playing on the backfoot. Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar said that he would like to see Virat Kohli play on the back foot more often as his tendency to get on the front foot is making him vulnerable.

“I wouldn’t advise him leaving balls outside off-stump. Maybe just the one thing he can do is start getting on the backfoot a little and not be a batter who is on the front foot no matter what. It makes the bowler’s job a lot easier.

“If he starts using the crease, he will find that he will get a lot of loose balls. Otherwise, tall fast bowlers on these pitches just keep hitting the deck, and those turn out to be great bowls for Virat Kohli because he uses that front foot,” said the former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar.

Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar [Image Courtesy: Twitter]
Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar [Image Courtesy: Twitter]
The second test between India and South Africa will begin on Monday in Johannesburg. Virat Kohli’s record at this venue is quite brilliant as he scored 310 runs in 4 test innings with one hundred and two fifties. In his first Test at Johannesburg in 2013, he played two influential knocks (119 and 96) as the game ended in a thrilling draw while in 2018 he played two impactful knocks (54 & 41) on a very spicy surface.’

Batting great Sunil Gavaskar had said after the match, which India won by 113 runs, that Virat Kohli could try speaking to Sachin Tendulkar about completely avoiding his trademark cover drive, which the latter had famously done in Sydney in 2003 and went on to score a double century.

Speaking after winning the toss, India’s stand-in skipper KL Rahul revealed that Hanuma Vihari has replaced Virat Kohli in the playing XI for the 2nd Test match. KL Rahul also confirmed that Team India has made a forced change in their playing XI as Virat Kohli is ruled out of the 2nd Test due to upper back spasm.