If there is one phase of Virat Kohli’s career that even his biggest fan would not like to remember is the 2014 England tour. The next England tour saw a different Kohli. The Indian captain revealed who helped him coming out of that phase in a chat with Mayank Agarwal.
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What happened in England tour 2014?
Virat Kohli had made 134 runs in 10 innings at an average of 13.4 during India’s tour of England in 2014. Whenever he speaks about his illustrating career he is asked about this phase inevitably. What amazed one and all the way Virat Kohli came out of the zone. Four year later the same batsman managed to end the tour as the top scorer with 593 runs from 10 innings at an average of 59.3.
In a recent interview with India’s Test opener Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli was asked about the same. He explained, “My hip position was an issue in that tour (2014). It was a thing of not adjusting to conditions and wanting to do what I wanted to do and being rigid about it. Being rigid about anything doesn’t get you anywhere. I realised it pretty quickly. It was a long and painful realisation but I realised it. The one thing that stood out was my right hip when it opens or closes too much, as batsmen we know we’re in trouble. So keeping that hip position nice and side-on and balanced in a way that we can play through off and on side with equal control was very important.”
He added that he was too worried about the ball. “That’s why I was opening up too early and the ball that would go away was getting me. I just couldn’t get past that confusion.” Kohli recalled, “ When I came back, I saw footage. Even my forward stride wasn’t as confident as it should have been. I just relied on my hands, and in this day and age bowlers find out pretty quickly and start targeting you.”
Sachin Tendulkar and Ravi Shastri helped Virat Kohli
While Virat Kohli’s dedication was the main reason behind the drastically changed Kohli of 2018, there were three more people who contributed to the same. Virat Kohli revealed how speaking to Sachin Tendulkar helped him realize the importance of a big forward stride against fast bowlers. “I came back and spoke to Sachin paaji as well. In Bombay, I did a few sessions with him. I told him I’m working on my hip position and he made me realise the importance of a big forward stride against fast bowlers as well. The moment I started doing that with my hip alignment, things started lining up nicely, and eventually, the Australia tour happened.”
The next in the skipper’s list was the then team director Ravi Shastri. “After the 2014 Test series, he called me and Shikhar (Dhawan) to his room and asked for a bat as well. Because he has such a keen understanding of the game, little things that you can do that make huge differences.” Virat Kohli continued, “He told me something which I started practising after, which is standing outside the crease. He explained the mindset behind it, you should be in control over the space you’re playing in and not give the bowlers so many opportunity to get you out. So many dismissals get ruled out when you’re standing outside the crease, and you’re more in control. I started practicing that in Australia and the results were unbelievable.”
Virat Kohli later had a fruitful conversation with Duncan Fletcher as well who was coaching the Indian national cricket team at that time.