Play as late as possible: Gavaskar's tip for Kohli

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli walks back after being dismissed by Ben Stokes in the Edgbaston Test. File photo: AFP/Geoff Caddick

New Delhi: Virat Kohli's ploy of trying to negate swing by meeting the ball early has backfired, feels legendary Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar, whose advise in English conditions has always been about playing as late as possible.

Kohli, who is now just four months short of completing three years without an international ton, scored 11 and 20 in the recently concluded rescheduled Test against England that India lost by seven wickets.

"The trick to play in England is to play as late as possible. Then you are allowing the ball to do its bit and then you are playing the ball. From what little I saw in the highlights, it seemed Kohli was looking to reach for the ball, trying to play the ball early," Gavaskar said on 'Sports Today'.

He pointed out that Kohli had enjoyed success in England in 2018 as he looked to play the ball very late.

"Therefore, he was not looking like he was in 2018 when he was looking to play it very late around the off-stump."

Gavaskar feels the reason behind Kohli's new approach could be the dip in form and paucity of runs in recent years. These are times when one tends to play every ball and it often fraught with danger.

"This could possibly be his issue because he hasn't been among the runs. When you are not in form, you look to play almost every ball, hit each one of them, in a bid to score runs. Maybe that's something that can he look at."

However, Gavaskar feels Kohli is also running low on luck.

"But the first mistake he is making is turning out to be his last mistake. Maybe he is not having the run of the luck at the moment.

"I think you obviously plan a little bit, visualise what the bowler is going to do the next day. Therefore, you can stay outside the crease but you can go with a pre-meditated plan of batting, which means the bowler has to bowl the same line you are expecting.

"If he doesn't bowl in those lines, you are in trouble.

Kohli got caught behind in the first innings, in the second essay he was dismissed off an unplayable delivery from Ben Stokes that suddenly kicked up from length.

"Cricket is always about instinctive action. And while you are giving yourself just that extra bit of preparation by trying to understand the bowler's strengths, at the end of the day, it's an instinctive game," he added.

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