White ball affects batsmen’s defence on spinning tracks: Kohli

Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
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By Khurram Habib

Ahmedabad– India captain Virat Kohli has attributed the batsmen’s failures to score runs on spin-friendly wickets over the last two Tests against England to an overdose of limited overs cricket.

Both India and England have struggled in the last two Tests with the bat, although India have been a shade better than England. Kohli criticised both sides’ batting in the last match, the pink-ball Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera.

“Defence is needed on these kind of wickets. The pattern that I have seen in Test cricket, if you see any match’s highlights — batsmen play out difficult sessions by giving no chances to be able to survive. Because of influence of white ball cricket, there are a lot of results in Test cricket. It has an effect on batting too,” Kohli told the media.

“I think defence, which is key in this format, is being compromised. People think that we should score 300-350 quickly. That four-five session long grind, I don’t think that is in focus nowadays. People are not focussing on defence that much maybe because they have to switch from other formats, it affects the skill. Skill is definitely required to play on tracks that turn. You don’t have to necessarily sweep. You can find your way. You need to have confidence in defence so that the ball doesn’t go to short leg or silly point. It is a part of the game that has been ignored,” he further said.

Kohli disagreed with his deputy Ajinkya Rahane and some English players like Zak Crawley on their views over the pink ball. Rahane and Crawley had said that it will be easier to face the red ball than the pink ball. Kohli said there is not much difference between red ball and pink ball and it was only the poor quality in batting.

“I don’t understand why a cricket ball, cricket pitch are brought into focus. Why don’t we just focus on the fact that the batsmen were just not skilled enough to play on that pitch. It was a bizarre display of batting by both teams in a Test match. I will continue to say that because I have played long enough to understand what happens on a cricket field. It is not a change in ball colour or change in ball shape. It is still round, still weighs five-and-a-half ounces so I don’t know what difference it makes suddenly. The pitch in Chennai though was different. This track has more pace,” he added.

“The result in the last game was down to bizarre batting from both sides and we scored more runs than the opposition. It was just poor batting. It could have gone into the third or fourth day,” said Kohli.

The 32-year-old India captain also said that the pitch is getting unnecessary flak when it is the batting that has been poor.

“We lost in New Zealand in three days. No one wrote about the pitch. It was all about how India played badly in New Zealand and none of the pitches were criticised. No one came and saw how much the pitch was doing and how much the ball was moving. Or how much grass was there on the pitch? The reason for our success has been that we have not cribbed about any pitch on which we have played on. We will continue to play as a team moving forward,” added Kohli.

“Spinning tracks come into focus way more. When the ball seams on a particular wicket and a team gets bundled out for 40, 50, 60, no one writes about it. It is always called bad batting. We all need to be honest. What is the idea behind continuing this narrative and what purpose it serves,” he said. (IANS)



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