Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has opined that Virat Kohli should reconsider his current batting strategy, which depends largely on front-foot play. According to Manjrekar, the Indian captain’s approach is pushing him to be much more defensive than usual. Kohli top-scored with 79 in India’s first-innings total of 223 in the third Test in Cape Town on Tuesday, after being ruled out in the second Test due to an upper back spasm.
During the knock, the 33-year-old faced 201 deliveries and struck 12 fours and a six. His fifty came after 158 deliveries, the second-slowest in his Test career. Manjrekar stated on ESPN Cricinfo after watching Kohli’s resilient innings that the Indian Test skipper has to grasp what he is missing out on, noting that he has alternative options when it comes to shot making.
One of the primary reasons why he couldn’t touch the three-figure mark on Tuesday is because he ran out of partners. However, Manjrekar strongly believes that the old Kohli, with all of his strokes, would have scored 130 in the same number of deliveries.
He said, “I don’t believe in this thing of ‘who tells Virat Kohli anything about how he should bat. He is one of the all-time greats’. Roger Federer has a coach who travels with him, keeps telling him about things he needs to improve on. Every sportsman needs some kind of guide. And I think this method is making life a little more difficult for Kohli.”
However, Manjrekar lauded Kohli’s mental toughness that he displayed during the knock as he made the effort to come out of the lean patch he is going through, despite losing partners on the other end.
“Kohli has other shots as well. We are saying he ran out of partners and hence missed a hundred. But the Virat Kohli of old, with all the shots that he used to play, would have got a 130 in the same number of balls.
“Who better than Rahul David to quietly start suggesting to Virat Kohli whether he would want to look at some of his earlier tapes? How he used to score more freely and whether he wants to have a relook at this front foot commitment no matter what,” Manjrekar added.
Despite Kohli’s gritty 79, the team failed to post a solid first-innings total. In 77.3 overs, India were bowled out for 223 runs.