WTC final: "A batsman of Virat Kohli's caliber will have his own plans"– Sachin Tendulkar 

Sachin Tendulkar (left) and Virat Kohli (Photo: Twitter)
Sachin Tendulkar (left) and Virat Kohli (Photo: Twitter)

Ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final, batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar dismissed talks of Virat Kohli's apparent weakness outside the off-stump that led to the latter's torrid tour of England in 2014.

The cricket legend believes the area outside off in the fourth or fifth stump region bothers almost all batters and isn't specific to the Indian skipper. He also believes that a quality player like Virat Kohli will have his own plans to tackle the issue.

"I think outside the off-stump or whatever that is, all batters get out from there. So, I won't look at whatever shot he is playing. What is the percentage that Kohli is getting the shots right, and how many times he has been dismissed? If we compare that, then the player has to assess and plan that these are the areas I need to tighten up. But I wouldn't worry too much about all those things, it has been fine, to be honest.
"I am sure a batsman of his [Virat Kohli's] calibre understands the game as he is a good student. He will have his plans. It need not be that 'okay, I am not going to play this shot'. Sometimes you know, you adjust your stance and do many things at the crease that the bowlers sometimes don't pick. All those minor tweaks one can do," Tendulkar told ANI.

Kohli managed just 134 runs at an average of 13.4 on India's England tour in 2014, with James Anderson exploiting his weakness around the off-stump.

After his return from England, Kohli had a few sessions with Tendulkar in Mumbai, where the latter made him realize the importance of big strides and forward press against pacers. The minor technical adjustments helped him evolve as a better batter. The next time Kohli toured England in 2018, he topped the run charts, scoring nearly 600 runs at an average of 59.3.

Sachin Tendulkar reveals his Sydney plans of 2004

Even a great batter like Sachin Tendulkar had his issues around the off-stump area during India's Australia tour in 2003-04. The batting maestro had a poor run until the fourth Test, getting out while driving the ball.

Tendulkar decided not to drive in the New Year's Sydney Test and made the Australians bowl at him. Revealing more on the strategy, the 48-year-old said:

"I started not playing that shot (drive), but it wasn't decided in the dressing room. I went there on the field and figured out their strategy is to keep the ball away from me, so I said, okay, let's see who loses patience first. It was me against the 11, and I thought if you keep bowling the ball there, I will keep leaving it. If it is for two days, I will. It happened on the field, and I am sure with him also, he will realise what they are trying to do, and then you should have the flexibility to move from Plan A to Plan B and respond to various challenges."

Tendulkar slammed an unbeaten 241 against a tired pack of Australian bowlers, ruining Steve Waugh's farewell party. Australia narrowly escaped defeat in that Test as India went on to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Edited by Prem Deshpande
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