Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)

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Shaun Pollock feels Virat Kohli would be really disappointed and frustrated because of the way he got out on Day 1 of the first India vs South Africa Test on Boxing Day (26th December).

After collecting 35 watchful runs, the Indian captain chased a wide outswinger from pacer Lungi Ngidi, straight to first slip. That was a dismissal in line with his recent trend of throwing away good starts. While the wicket didn’t hurt the visitors much – as they ended Day 1 at 272-3 – it ramped up the scrutiny on Virat Kohli by another notch.

Shaun Pollock ©Reuters
Shaun Pollock ©Reuters

Shaun Pollock: Virat Kohli Would  Be Disappointed To Lose His Wicket As He Looked In Good Touch

Virat Kohli’s last international century came against Bangladesh in 2019 in the longest format. He has been struggling to score much-needed runs as after the Bangladesh series, his average never touched 40 in any of the following Test series unlike his career average of 50.55. In 2020, his average was a mere 19.33 while in 2021, his average is 28.78.

Speaking after the day’s play, Shaun Pollock said: “Looking at his dismissal, he’s got to be really, really disappointed. He looked in such good touch; he looked so motivated; his feet were moving nicely. and he was getting in really strong positions.”

Shaun Pollock added: “To have chased that delivery on 35, almost when he was in set and looked like he was going to get a big score, I think he must be sitting at the hotel pretty frustrated at the fact that he got out in that fashion.”

Shaun Pollock reckoned that Virat Kohli was coming back into his groove and was looking good with his footwork before playing the rash stroke. In an 82-run stand for the third wicket along with opener KL Rahul, Virat Kohli scored 35 runs with the help of four fours.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

Virat Kohli’s wicket was surprising, as he was leaving the ball well throughout his knock, and only drove ones that were either too full or closer to his stumps. While the Proteas tried out the outside off-stump line before the wicket, there was no obvious setup from Lungi Nigidi to force Virat Kohli to play far away from his body.

Virat Kohli is averaging under 30 in Tests this year and has now got just one more innings to improve that number. However, even if he does, this year is likely to be his third-worst in terms of stats since his Test debut ten years ago.

Dinesh Karthik Credits Rahul Dravid And Virat Kohli For Backing Ajinkya Rahane

Unlike Virat Kohli, his former red-ball deputy Ajinkya Rahane looked a step closer to breaking his poor rut of form on Sunday. He came to bat at 199-3 and ended the day with a brisk 81-ball 40. Over four-fifths of his runs came through boundaries, as Ajinkya Rahane upped the visitors’ run rate to take them to a comfortable position by Stumps on Day 1.

In the same interaction, wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik credited Test skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Rahul Dravid for backing the experienced Ajinkya Rahane. He admitted that Ajinkya Rahane getting a long rope might be a bit unfair on Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari, but said it is part and parcel of being a part of a strong side.

Dinesh Karthik said: “When you are going with six batters, I think they wanted to rely on experience because that’s what Ajinkya Rahane brings to the table. I love the intent with which he bats. You’ve got to understand when you cross 30, there’s a lot of pressure as a batter; the whole country is probably speaking that you shouldn’t play.”

“But for him to come and play with the intent he’s played, credit to Dravid and Kohli for backing him. Is it a bit unfair to Shreyas and Hanuma Vihari? Maybe, but that’s always the case when you have a strong team; you will leave out somebody who’s going to be disappointed.”

Dinesh Karthik added: “…But I am happy for Rahane because he needs the runs. What I am even more happy about is the intent he showed. He was ready to play the shots that he was good at; he wasn’t meek at any point. and I liked that.”

KL Rahul produced a majestic knock-in testing condition en route to his sixth overseas century as India made a near-perfect start to the Test series against South Africa. KL Rahul (122 batting off 248), alongside opener partner Mayank Agarwal (60), set up a strong platform for India with a 117-run stand, enabling the visitors to reach 272 for three at stumps.

Skipper Virat Kohli (35 off 94) fell to a loose shot after doing all the hard work while under-pressure Cheteshwar Pujara lasted only one ball and was dismissed for a golden duck. Ajinkya Rahane (40 batting off 81), who like Cheteshwar Pujara is fighting to save his place in the team, was in the middle at the close of play with KL Rahul.

Barring Lungi Ngidi, who took all the wickets to fall on the day, South Africa pacers were not probing enough in their line and lengths and offered too many loose balls.