Former India batsman VVS Laxman feels that Virat Kohli has fallen back into the old habit of shuffling too much outside the off stump. Laxman claimed that Kohli is shuffling a lot more than he did during the 2018 England tour, when he tasted amazing success.
Kohli scored 42 on Day 1 of the Lord’s Test against England but did not look in control during his stay at the crease. He had a couple of lucky escapes before he poked at one from Ollie Robinson after the new ball was taken.
Reviewing Kohli’s unimpressive innings, Laxman told ESPN Cricinfo:
“The England bowlers bowled to very well planned and disciplined line and lengths to him. They know that the area to attack Kohli is on and around the off stump. It is very clear that he doesn’t enjoy the ball in that region. They also tried to bring back the odd ball back in, which could hit Virat Kohli on the pads. There was also a barrage of bouncers when (Mark) Wood was bowling.”
“I was watching and comparing the shuffle of Virat Kohli from 2018 to the current Test series. And I just feel that in 2018, he wasn’t moving so much as he is doing now. That is the reason he is not able to play his shots outside off stump a lot more freely. Subconsciously, he feels that those balls are supposed to be left. I just feel the combination of disciplined bowling and good execution of plans from the English bowlers and also the shuffle, which is more than what it was in 2018,” he added.
Laxman compared Kohli’s shuffle in 2018 to KL Rahul’s on the current tour. The former batter explained:
“If you look at Kohli’s shuffle in 2018, it was very similar to what KL Rahul has displayed in the two Test matches so far. Once he is able to do that (adjust his shuffle), Kohli will be able to play shots on both sides of the wicket. At the moment, if you see, at times his leg stump was also exposed because he was shuffling too much.”
Virat Kohli added 117 for the third wicket with KL Rahul
Despite not being at his fluent best, the Indian captain featured in a steadying third wicket stand with centurion KL Rahul. Kohli hit only three fours during his 103-ball stay.
Significantly, he helped India avoid a batting collapse after James Anderson sent back Rohit Sharma (83) and Cheteshwar Pujara (9).
The Indian openers added 126 before being separated as the visitors batted first after Kohli lost yet another toss. India ended the day on 276 for 3 with Rahul unbeaten on 127 and Ajinkya Rahane on 1.