Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar believes that Indian skipper and batting stalwart Virat Kohli has a very obvious weakness that keeps getting exploited especially in the English conditions. Kohli was dismissed by James Anderson on the first day of the Headingley Test while chasing a delivery outside off.
This isn’t the first time Kohli has been guilty of feeling for deliveries that are innocuous in nature. Back in the 2014 tour, he was constantly doing the same mistake over and over again, and Anderson jumped on this weakness back then, just like he is doing it now. Speaking on the issue, Manjrekar stated:
“Unlike so many greats of his league, he [Kohli] has got a very obvious weakness. All the greats, the Tendulkars, the Gavaskars, and the Viv Richards, didn’t have one obvious weakness. Every time that gets exploited, Virat Kohli gets found out. It’s not that he is getting out in different ways like Ajinkya Rahane does. I am sure it’s starting to bother him.“
Pointing out that leaving a delivery takes a lot of patience and effort, Manjrekar felt Kohli wasn’t doing it anywhere close to enough.
“The reason he got those runs in 2018 was not because he was cover-driving beautifully or pulling it superbly like he was in Australia against Mitchell Johnson. It was all about leaving the ball, which was about doing something he was not accustomed to. It requires a lot of mental effort.”
“Virat Kohli is not leaving as many balls this time” – Sanjay Manjrekar
It’s no secret that the 32-year-old Indian captain has struggled of late. His last fifty in international cricket came more than 50 innings ago. His average has dipped, especially in the longest format and the last century Kohli scored was way back in November 2019 against Bangladesh.
His slump has carried over to the UK, which is generally regarded as the toughest place to bat. As KL Rahul showed in the first two Tests, letting a ball go through is the best way to play in English conditions. Kohli has forgotten the art of leaving balls, as per Manjrekar.
“I am just starting to feel that maybe the mental reserves that he has is he as fresh mentally as he was in 2018 with that big challenge of seeing James Anderson through and leaving balls after balls? He is not leaving as many balls this time,” he added.
Kohli has scored just 69 runs in four innings so far, and he has looked extremely patchy at the crease in all the knocks. The misfiring middle-order duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane also compounds the Indian misery further.