Former India wicketkeeper-batter Saba Karim has said that Virat Kohli can overcome his poor run if he displays better application and concentration, especially against deliveries outside the off-stump.
Even as India defeated South Africa by 113 runs in Centurion, Kohli’s lean spell continued, as he was dismissed for 35 and 18. On both occasions, he perished to deliveries wide outside the off-stump.
Speaking ahead of the second Test at the Wanderers, Karim pointed out that bowlers are targeting Kohli outside the off-stump, so it is up to the Indian captain to make the required adjustments. Karim said in the Kheelneeti podcast:
“Bowlers are aware that they can increase their chances of dismissing Virat Kohli by bowling at the fifth or sixth stump. It is not like Kohli is not making an effort to overcome the weakness."
"If you bowl ten balls outside the off stump to him, he will leave them alone. However, when you bowl ten deliveries at the stumps, and then pitch one wider, he ends up following it. This is where Kohli needs to work on.”
The 54-year-old added about Kohli’s lack of big scores in the last few seasons:
“It all depends on the shot selection and how strong your temperament is. Kohli’s mindset has always been to bat aggressively. But he needs to visualise how he is being tempted with deliveries outside the off stump and be firm that he is not going to get out to those balls.”
“There is no deficiency in Kohli’s technique. There is no reason why he can’t convert those 30s. I am sure Kohli will overcome the bad patch. Dravid has gone through similar phases, so I am sure he will share his experiences.”
Kohli has an impressive record in Johannesburg, where the second Test begins on Monday. He has scored 310 runs in two Tests at an average of 77.5 and a best of 119.
“India should continue with five bowlers” - Saba Karim
Heading into the Wanderers Test, there are reports that India are pondering playing an extra batter instead of all-rounder Shardul Thakur. However, according to Karim, India should stick to five bowlers, as it works best for them. The former player explained:
“India should continue with five bowlers. When you play five bowlers, you can give rest to your main bowlers. Shardul Thakur has an uncanny wicket-taking ability."
"In the first innings in Centurion, he provided the breakthrough at the right time. He looks innocuous. but is a very smart bowler. He got out early (in the 1st Test), but is a reliable lower-order batter."
“This five-bowler template is working for India at home as well as in SENA countries. I don’t see a reason for change.”
India are chasing history in Johannesburg. A win in the game will see them register their maiden Test series triumph in South Africa.