Either he abandons the drive or goes all out: Salman Butt on how Virat Kohli can overcome bad patch

Virat Kohli drives the ball during a Test match. Pic: Getty Images
Virat Kohli drives the ball during a Test match. Pic: Getty Images
Renin Wilben Albert

Former Pakistan batter Salman Butt has suggested that Indian Test captain Virat Kohli needs to zero in on a particular method to rediscover his batting form. According to Butt, Kohli can either stop playing the expansive drives for a while or can go on the offensive and hit his way out of trouble.

While India registered a historic triumph in Centurion, Kohli struggled again, scoring 35 and 18 in two innings. For the second year in a row, he failed to score an international hundred. Significantly, like in England, he was dismissed flashing outside the off stump.

Virat Kohli's dismissal in both the innings.

Butt agreed that some technical issues seem to have crept into Kohli’s game. Speaking on his YouTube channel, he stated that it’s up to the Indian Test skipper to decide what method he wants to utilize to strike form again.

The former cricketer elaborated:

“There are only two ways Kohli can come out of this bad patch. Either he completely abandons the drive for a while and relies on other shots or he goes all out and tries to hit his way out of trouble. If he wants to play a long innings, he will have to concentrate extra hard to not drive balls outside the off stump. If he manages to do that, things could start to flow again. But it all depends on how he wants to do it.”

During the interaction, Butt also discussed the scenario when Rohit Sharma returns to the Test team, considering both KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have done well in the opening slot.

Himself a former opener, Butt suggested:

“When Rohit is back in the Test team, one of KL or Mayank can move down to three. That would make the best XI according to me. Hanuma Vihari is there, he has also done well. It’s a dressing room full of people with full credentials to play. A good headache to have.”
Great to start off the series on a positive note. 🙌🏽

Apart from Rohit, Rahul and Mayank, young Shubman Gill, who is currently injured, has also done a decent job while opening the Tests for India in a short career.

“Winning without star players shows India’s back-up strength” - Salman Butt

🗣️🗣️ "2021 has been a special year for us."Vice-captain @klrahul11 sums up 2021 for #TeamIndia and speaks about the historic win at Centurion👍#SAvIND

India registered an unbelievable win at the Gabba at the start of the year and ended 2021 with another fortress-breaching triumph in Centurion. Finding a link between the two, Butt said the victories point to India’s impressive bench strength. The 37-year-old concluded:

“Kohli was not there in Australia (barring Adelaide) when India won. Rohit is missing from this series and India won here (in Centurion). Winning without star players shows India’s back-up strength and planning and how good the upcoming players are.”

India will kick off the New Year hoping to register their maiden Test series triumph in South Africa. The second Test of the three-match series begins in Johannesburg on January 3.

Edited by Samya Majumdar
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