“That’s a problem I have got with Virat Kohli for the last couple of years” - Sanjay Manjrekar dissects Indian batter’s dismissal
Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar reckons that Virat Kohli’s commitment to playing on the front foot no matter what led to his dismissal on Day 2 of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia.
Kohli was dismissed for 14 as India stumbled to 151/5 in response to Australia’s first-innings total of 469 on Thursday. Left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc got a delivery to bounce awkwardly at the Indian batter, who could only fend it to the slip cordon.
While many critics and fans praised Starc for producing a near-unplayable delivery, Manjrekar had a different take on the wicket. According to him, Kohli made things difficult for himself with his premeditated front-foot stride.
He told ESPNcricinfo during a discussion after the end of play on Day 2:
“Virat Kohli, a lot was being said about the ball that was bowled. But, I looked at the pitch map and the ball actually has pitched halfway. It’s a short ball and if you see Virat Kohli [his position], that’s a problem that I have got with Kohli for the last couple of years, where he’s on the front foot no matter what."
Elaborating on the dismissal and Kohli’s technique, Manjrekar added:
“That ball is short. Unfortunately, it reared up from a length. But when you are getting onto the front foot, that back foot is outside the front crease. So both his legs are outside the crease and he is trying to negotiable a ball that has reared from halfway down the pitch.
"It’s a snorter if the ball is up on good length, where most batters will get onto the front foot. That’s why I have become a proponent of back foot play. He’s gone on to the front foot and once the ball rears if you have committed onto the front foot, you have got no chance.”
Kohli looked good during his 31-ball stay at the crease and hit two fours before falling to Starc.
Gavaskar shares similar views to Manjrekar on Kohli's wicket
India batting legend Sunil Gavaskar also echoed Manjrekar’s sentiments on Kohli’s dismissal. According to the former India skipper, had the batter been on the back foot, he would have been able to drop his wrists.
Gavaskar told Star Sports:
"Today because of the fact that there are only two bouncers per over, most batters are onto the front foot. This means they are not able to get onto the back foot and give themselves the extra yard where you could have probably let the ball go by dropping your wrists.
"Yes, it was a tough delivery because he was so committed to the front foot that he was not able to withdraw his bat at the last moment. It looked like an unplayable ball, but if he had been on the back foot, he would have been able to drop his wrists.”
Apart from Kohli, Rohit Sharma (15), Shubman Gill (13), Cheteshwar Pujara (14) also fell cheaply as India slumped to 71/4.
A fifth-wicket stand of 71 between Ravindra Jadeja (48) and Ajinkya Rahane (29*) gave the innings some respectability.