Tag: Virat Kohli (page 1 of 3)

Video: Virat Kohli dropped off Mohammad Amir… Virat Kohli caught off Mohammad Amir

Virat Kohli makes the least of his reprieve off Mohammad Amir (via ICC)

Pakistan often lunge enthusiastically towards the ridiculous in the firm knowledge that this is their best hope of rebounding to sublime cricket – but even for them this moment was something else.

There is a strong argument that Virat Kohli is the finest one-day batsman there’s ever been. He is not a man you can afford to drop in the final of the Champions Trophy.

Oh no, turns out you can.


Virat Kohli is basically livid about beating Australia

Virat Kohli must be the dictionary definition of hard-to-please, for no-one on earth is an enraged by their own success as he is.

When Kohli makes a hundred, he’s angry. When his team wins a series over Australia – even though he’s not actually playing – he’s positively enraged.

We’ve done detailed analysis of a grainy video posted to Twitter to prove that second point.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Kohli’s initial reaction to series victory is something that could, at a push, be construed as pleasure.

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It isn’t long however before that emotion starts to make way for something else.

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The eyebrows are starting to harden. The jaw is tighter. The fists are starting to clench.

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By this point it’s unmistakeable. Virat Kohli is decidedly pissed off about winning a Test series against Australia.

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This is where he ends up.

Livid.

Absolutely sick to the back teeth, the front teeth and tonsils of experiencing sporting success against his rivals.

Someone is going to pay for this positive outcome.

Big time.


Virat Kohli accuses Steve Smith of line-crossing

“There’s a line that you don’t cross on the cricket field,” said Virat Kohli, shortly after suggesting that the Australians had been looking to their dressing room for help when deciding whether to review decisions or not.

You realise what this is, don’t you? It’s an allegation of line-crossing.

This is serious stuff, because as you’re no doubt aware, the Australian cricket captain is the one who dictates the location of ‘the line’.

Any activity carried out by Australian players falls into the category of “playing hard but fair” while all other activities are by definition either “soft cricket” or “crossing the line”.

No-one fulfilled the role better than Michael Clarke, a man who fully understood the mobility and flexibility of the line. Clarke would no doubt agree with Steve Smith that seeking out the opinion of a third party when mulling whether or not to call upon the decision review system merely constitutes “a bit of a brain fade.”

It is, quite frankly, an outrage that Virat Kohli should slander the Australians in this way. It is surely obvious to us all that the Australians, with their poor faded brains, would never breach the line. The line is sacred.

Virat has crossed the line on this line-crossing thing.


Virat Kohli dealing in daddies and doubles

Virat Kohli (CC licensed by James Cullen via Flickr)

Virat Kohli (CC licensed by James Cullen via Flickr)

Is ‘supersizing’ still a thing or did it die out after that Morgan Spurlock film? We’re old enough now that we should probably research our knee-jerk cultural references to see whether they still apply. Let’s not bother and just assume that this one’s still current.

Virat Kohli had never hit a Test double hundred until July 2016. He now has four of them. His other hundred in that period, 167 against England at Visakhapatnam, was a mere daddy – an innings so mundane, we didn’t even write about it.

We were in McDonald’s in York about 20 years ago. We’ve a vague notion that the cooker had broken but can offer no defence beyond that. There was an American guy ahead of us in the queue. He was one of those touring Americans who likes to enjoy his trip by loudly proclaiming how much bigger and better everything is in his home country.

“You see how there’s a medium and a large on the menu,” he said. “In the US, everything is large.”

Another person might have seen this as a lack of choice, but he could only see merit in it. Everything’s bigger, you see. And bigger’s better.

Virat Kohli currently gets his hundreds from a possibly fictitious 1997 McDonald’s somewhere in the Midwest.


Jimmy Anderson gave a lion’s view of Virat Kohli

Lion (Wikimedia Commons licensed by Kevin Pluck)

Lion (Wikimedia Commons licensed by Kevin Pluck)

“If a lion could talk, we could not understand him,” wrote Ludwig Wittgenstein. The point being our feline friend would probably be rambling on about how he’d happened across some other lion’s urine earlier in the day and his specific concerns about this patch of piss would mean nothing to you.

Lions live in a world with different norms, values and preoccupations – and so do fast bowlers.

Ask Jimmy Anderson for his opinion on a particular batsman and you shouldn’t expect him to wax lyrical about how well he’s playing. Jimmy sees batsmen as prey and their techniques as little more than an accumulation of Achilles heels. Jimmy’s reason for being is to cut batsmen down and part of the process of becoming so good at it has involved training his brain to see them in a certain way.

Show Mark Nicholas a Virat Kohli cover drive and he will say something like: “Oh now, that is just exquisite.”

Show Jimmy the same stroke and he’ll say: “I wonder if he’d have tried to play the same shot if it had shaped away from him a touch. There was a bit of a gap between bat and pad too for the one jagging back.”

That is not Jimmy being deliberately unappreciative. That is how he thinks. That is what he spends his life thinking about, because that is his job.

Fast bowlers hate batsmen. They hate opposition batsmen in particular and successful opposition batsmen most of all. After all, a ‘good’ innings from an opponent is not something to be appreciated; it is something which must be endured.

Jimmy Anderson’s favourite batsman is Alastair Cook. Alastair Cook is Jimmy’s favourite batsman for the simple reason that he tends to provide him with a nice long rest.


Cook and Kohli – captains with and without influence

Alastair Cook

Oh for a captain who knows what it’s like to win a Test series in India. England have had just one such leader since David Gower triumphed way back in 1984-85. It was, er, Alastair Cook.

This probably goes to show that ‘knowing how to win in India’ is just the smallest slice of the equation.

England’s tour

Set aside the fact that this India side is superior to the defeated 2012 vintage for a moment, it’s interesting to contrast the two England teams. The overwhelming difference lies in the bowling.

Back in 2012, we were keen to highlight that England had managed to field three or four wicket-taking bowlers, adding:

“That’s not really been possible in places like India and Sri Lanka before. England normally have one or two bowlers who seem like they might possibly threaten for a bit of the time and then a couple of support acts – either good bowlers who aren’t well-suited to the conditions, or county cricket makeweights who are.”

We’re quoting ourself for an obvious reason. Clearly, we have returned to normality.

In this series, Adil Rashid’s the one bowler who seems like he might possibly threaten for a bit of the time. The other spinners, including Moeen Ali, have effectively been county cricket makeweights. All the seamers bar Stuart Broad have been good bowlers not well-suited to conditions and on this tour unable to transcend them.

Take a look at the averages. It’s nasty stuff, whereas the batsmen have actually performed fairly competently.

It’s interesting to ponder what Rashid’s average might have been if anyone else had been chipping in and he hadn’t spent 90 per cent of his time bowling to set batsmen.

India’s future

On the Indian side of things, Virat Kohli appears to have achieved something beyond even his quarryload of runs. He has put his shoulder to the weighty Indian system and somehow shunted it in a different direction.

The team has historically been reluctant to field five bowlers, preferring instead the insurance of a sixth batsman, even in conditions where runs have been readily available. Kohli has however insisted upon it, even when spinners have been likely to do most of the work.

The effect has arguably been threefold. The remaining specialist batsmen, with another rival vying for their place and greater responsibility thrust upon them, appear to have responded well. The all-rounders and lower-order have also upped their game batting-wise.

In the field, the fresher seamers have been sharper and more incisive, while the fifth bowler has provided an additional option.

It’s easy to say that Kohli’s lucky enough to have the players to do this, but we’d make a strong argument for his having contributed to those players becoming what they currently are.

Conclusion

In the 2012 series, Virat Kohli averaged 31. In this series, he averages 128 and has access to a bowling attack that permits him to attack from all angles.

In 2012, Alastair Cook made three hundreds and had access to a brilliant left-arm spinner, a brilliant right-arm spinner, plus a highly effective version of Jimmy Anderson.

Captaincy’s a piece of piss if you can ensure you inhabit the right year. Sometimes you eat the bear…


Virat Kohli was a massive disappointment today

There was an awful lot of fuss after the first half of Virat Kohli’s innings. People said he was unreal, a genius – an unreal genius. Sunil Gavaskar said he was from another planet and lest anyone ask which one, he specified that it was an undiscovered planet.

They said all sorts of things, but the general theme was that Kohli was operating on another plane of existence, playing cricket with almost unimaginable brilliance.

As a result of this, we resolved to pay careful attention today. We wanted to appreciate his extaordinary otherness and drink in his magnificence. If more splendour was in the offing, we were going to quaff it. Every last bit of it.

But you know what? We were left hugely disappointed. Virat Kohli really let us down.

It just seemed so normal. If Kohli was doing anything special, then it was playing like all the other batsmen but for slightly longer. At one point the crowd did an enormous amount of shouting and clapping, but by that point he’d been in ages and we rather felt like we’d seen it all already.

He ran singles and clipped a few fours – as batsmen do – and that was pretty much it. He didn’t even have the decency to levitate.

Journalists, pundits and fans had left us expecting a Ready-Brek glow at the very least, but there was none of that. There were no banana shots, arcing the ball around fielders. He just hit it past them – or quite often to them. He didn’t play too many stupid shots and he didn’t mishit all that many, but it’s hard to get too worked up about what you’re not seeing.

So, in summary: normal cricket, only drawn out for quite an extended period.

England should still endeavour to set India an awkward chase. That step alone is already in the realm of unIikeliness, but if the pitch goes utterly to shit and they then fluke their opponents out for less than a hundred, it would be utterly hilarious. They don’t remotely deserve a win, but there is no role for justice in the formulation of a good joke.


Good evening, Mr Kohli?

Before tea, Che Pujara and Virat Kohli, neither of whom had looked too troubled, started to hit a few more fours. It felt predictable and seemed to foreshadow a long evening session for England.

After tea, Pujara – perhaps concerned that he might partially obscure Kohli’s halo – needlessly looped one in Chris Woakes’ general direction. This precipitated change.

Some guy who sort of looks like Ajinkya Rahane briefly continued his attempt to pass himself off as the batsman, before Kohli did Karun Nair with a magnificent piece of absent-minded ambling. The captain drew his partner 15 yards down the pitch for what appeared as if it was going to be a single before lethally withdrawing the offer. The debutant had an excellent view of Jos Buttler’s throw shattering the stumps.

Kohli quite likes everything going horribly wrong because it gives him an opportunity to look serious and deliver something more memorable. Unfortunately, a little while afterwards he for some reason momentarily imagined he was in England and feathered a seamer to the keeper. The bowler, Ben Stokes, made a hand-over-mouth mime happen in reference to yesterday’s reprimand for being a gobby get.

After that, everything went back to normal and everyone put the previous passage of play down to a brief invasion by a parallel dimension.


Is Virat Kohli really India’s best batsman?

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Were he to find himself playing in a format-spanning Super Series, it would seem highly likely that Virat Kohli could find himself named man-of-it. The guy averages over 50 in the two shorter formats with a perfectly healthy strike-rate in both.

His Test record’s very good too: 12 Test hundreds and an average of 43.76.

That’s not extraordinary though. If we’re not exactly in Aftab Habib territory, the numbers don’t quite match Kohli’s reputation – and what is cricket about if not building one’s reputation through numbers? Maybe that’s what he’s always so angry about when he’s batting.

We felt moved to check Kohli’s Test record while Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were batting together against New Zealand recently. While they’ve played fewer Test matches, both average about 47.5. The numbers don’t say much, but they tally with our feeling that these two are perhaps the team’s best batsmen in the longest format.

Captaincy combined with weight of runs across the formats gives Kohli a certain clout, but we still found it odd to hear him dissecting Pujara’s approach to Test cricket recently. There were complimentary words in amongst it all, but the general tone was a bit end-of-term school report.

It all had a kind of he’s-finally-started-listening-to-me hue.

“Pujara is someone who absorbs the pressure really well but after a certain stage in the innings there comes a time when the team needs runs. That’s where we felt that he has the ability to capitalise. It was just about conveying that to him.”

Or what about this?

“We want Pujara to bat to his potential. Once he starts scoring runs to go with the composure he already has, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to have control of the game.”

Kohli also said it was “a revelation” to see Pujara score quicker “because he used to bat that way initially.” The qualification criteria for revelations clearly aren’t as stringent as they once were. We suppose it’s down to modern attention spans.

Is it just us who finds this tone somewhat odd? We suppose Kohli, as captain, has responsibility for how the team performs as a whole (as a unit, if you will), but it seems to us that in Test cricket at least, Kohli arguably has as much to learn from Pujara as Pujara does from Kohli.

Flip it around. Imagine Pujara saying the following about Kohli and see how it sounds.

“Kohli is someone who always looks to score runs, but at certain stages in the innings, the team just needs him to absorb pressure. That’s where we felt that he could improve. It was just about conveying that to him.”

And…

“We want Kohli to bat to his potential. Once he starts showing composure to go with the run-scoring ability he already has, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to have control of the game.”


Virat Kohli is not a bowler, Lendl Simmons is not out, Andre Russell is not suspended

India became so utterly convinced of Virat Kohli’s Midas touch that they gave him an over with the ball. He took a wicket with his first ball. That was the point where they should probably have drawn a line under things. Instead, Kohli came back to bowl the final over with the West Indies needing eight to win.

Is wishful thinking a legitimate way to decide on bowling changes with the outcome of a World T20 semi-final at stake? Andre Russell hit a four and a six.

It has to be said, Andre Russell hit the ball very hard throughout. Watching him employ his giant muscles – which may or may not have been naturally produced (we don’t know which, because he doesn’t take dope tests) – it was easy to see how a soupcon of extra power can help make small gaps larger.  At the other end, Lendl Simmons repeatedly walked on and off the pitch after succumbing to three non-dismissals. Clearly aware that it was his day, he hit 83 somehow-not-out off 51 balls.

In addition to Kohli’s dreamlike batting and the West Indies’ crunching boundary-hitting, there was plenty of the truly entertaining stuff – you know, missed run-outs (including two off one ball), dismissals off no-balls, catches that turn out to be sixes and overthrows. Top stuff everyone. More of this kind of thing.


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