Spotting bowlers' tiredness and encouraging own bowlers - what the stump mic picked up from Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli has shown during the course of the 1st Test between India and West Indies at Antigua why he is considered to be the best batsman of this generation. Not only has he scored his maiden double century, but also the ease with which he has scored it goes to indicate that there are even bigger knocks to come from his bat before the current tour is over.
We are well into the Virat Kohli era now, an era marked by destructive batting and aggressive captaincy. Unlike MS Dhoni, who seemed to have attained nirvana behind the stumps, Kohli leads with a lot of energy. He is always throwing himself around, getting into the face of oppositions, and being generally expressive.
The stump microphone has been picking up several quips from the captain over the first three days of the match and series, as India have tightened the noose around the host team. He has been shouting out tactics during the course of the match, in Hindi, out of range of comprehension of the opponents.
On Day 1, India’s Test specialists failed to make much of a mark, and the bulk of the scoring was done by Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli in the second session. As the hosts resumed bowling in the third session, Kohli tried to build a partnership with the last batsman in the order, Ajinkya Rahane. After a few overs of blocking, Kohli was heard shouting out to Rahane after an over from Devendra Bishoo – “He’s tiring down, he’s tiring down.”
Bishoo had taken two of the three wickets to have fallen till then, and him tiring down meant that the batsmen could play with abandon. Kohli had meant it as a cue for the pair to start attacking, and the next few overs saw a rise in the run rate.
However, his captain’s instructions might have clashed with his natural game, but Rahane soon went out to an inexplicable shot played to Bishoo, giving such an easy catch that even the fielder stood frozen in his place for a while. With Rahane’s wicket, India’s batting plans seemed to have failed, until Ravichandran Ashwin raised his hand to score the third century of his career.
On Day 3, India had gained a considerable upper hand. They had scored a massive 566/8 declared and had got West Indies 90/3 at lunch. Kohli was in a jubilant mood as he led his boys off. He was heard saying to his bowlers – "Reward for patience. Every session two, three wickets and that's it.”
Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav responded to their captain’s encouragements well, taking 4 wickets each to get the hosts’ first innings bundled up for 243 and picking up one wicket in their second innings follow on attempt as well.