Former India fielding coach R Sridhar has revealed an interesting incident from India’s tour of South Africa 2018 when Virat Kohli was adamant about batting on a dangerous pitch. Team India was given a county ground to practice for the series, however, the wickets on offer were not up to the mark.
In his book, “COACHING BEYOND: My Days with the Indian Cricket Team”, the former fielding coach recalled the incident. He wrote that Indian players’ practice on the center wicket at the Western Province in Cape Town, as the ones on the side, were horrible. Sridhar added that despite the dangerous nature of the wicket, Virat Kohli went out to bat on the surface. He wrote,
“Before that England series, we were in South Africa in January 2018 preparing for a Test series. They had given us a county ground for practice. The pitches were horrible. There was one center wicket on which we were practicing, but the side wickets at Western Province in Cape Town were far from ideal.”
“Virat saw that nobody was batting on the wicket because it could be a bit dangerous. He quickly padded up, called Sanjay, Raghu, and myself, and said he wanted to bat,” he added.
Virat Kohli put himself under severe distress and ensured he overcame it: R Sridhar
Former fielding coach R Sridhar further recalled that the support staff members tried to dissuade Virat Kohli. However, the then-Indian skipper was adamant. He asked Raghu, India’s throw-down specialist, to bowl at his fastest on the dangerous wicket. R Sridhar wrote in his book,
“We tried to dissuade him (Virat Kohli), but he was adamant he wanted to bat on the surface. ‘I want it to be dangerous, I want to bat on this dangerous wicket and I want Raghu to bowl at his fastest.’ That is what he did. He did that every time. He put himself under severe distress in difficult conditions and ensured he overcame it. So he was honing his skill, he was also sharpening himself mentally.”
The 2018 India tour of South Africa was an all-format tour with three tests, five ODIs, and three T20Is. South Africa won the Test series 2-1, while India won the ODI and the T20I series.
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