With the possibility of another slow turner in the second Test, which is scheduled to start from Friday, local boy Kohli is preparing himself to put his best foot forward. The extra efforts look absolutely necessary as run-scoring is going to be a struggle.
Kohli came to the stadium at least half an hour before the arrival of the Indian team bus in his personal car – a gleaming jet black Porsche. He wanted additional batting time and arrived early for the session. He began with customary throw-downs and some knocking off net bowlers.
Once a young fellow, bowling military medium, was pulled disdainfully off his backfoot, he asked for spinners.
“Spinners ko bulaao,” Kohli said and moved to the other net, where he worked on tackling the spinners.
Virat Kohli bats in nets during a practice session. (AFP Photo)
Kohli looked at the rough created on that practice strip and then used his boots to create more abrasion. Batting coach Vikram Rathour, in fact, pointed at particular areas where he could make indents and let the ball talk. The idea was to counter the natural variation off the surface where you land the ball on the rough and it can turn either side.
India A regular Saurabh Kumar, the talented left-arm spinner from UP, did ask a few probing questions.
There was one delivery where Kohli went on the backfoot. The ball didn’t bounce after pitching. It was a kind of “shooter” that didn’t rise. Kohli had a wry smile and looked at the surface.
There were two off spinners, net bowlers Pulkit Narang and Hrithik Shokeen who tossed up and at times mixed it up with flatter trajectory.
On the day, he regularly came down the track to cover the rough while driving Shokeen and Narang during that session. He wasn’t very smooth to begin with as some of the shots weren’t off the meat of the blade.
Kohli’s struggles against spinners has been real and Feroz Shah Kotla track will be another slow turner like Nagpur if not slower. He was caught down the leg side when he tried to manoeuvre off-spinner Todd Murphy in the Nagpur Test.
There was a covering of grass but anyone who has watched how the Kotla pitch behaves will tell you that it is more about maintaining the firm bind of the surface.
But there would be some moisture underneath the surface during the morning session which will help the bowlers. But Kotla is a kind of track where both, run-making and wicket-taking is an arduous job.
(With inputs from PTI)