India captain Virat Kohli has revealed the advice obtained by coach Ravi Shastri forward of the 2018 tour of England. Four years in the past, when India had toured England in 2014, he endured the leanest patch of his profession. With 134 runs from 10 innings, it was Kohli’s worst Test series statistically. So, when 4 years later, Kohli returned for his gravest problem, more than redemption, it was about enhancing from his learnings 4 years in the past.
“2014 will be a milestone in my career. Lot of people take good tours as a milestone. That tour of 2014 will always be the milestone in my career. From where I thought things might go bad for me very soon because the next big tour was Australia. I had to sit down and change the way I thought and approached the game,” Kohli said.
“I started being more fearless, not in situations which sort of seemed easy, like in white ball cricket, you invariably knew what the situation was. You prepared yourself, you get motivated very easily. But Test cricket, when it gets tough, to maintain your composure is the most difficult thing for a cricketer. That is something I really needed to correct.”
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In a stark distinction, Kohli returned to England in 2018 and scored 593 runs within the five-Test series with two centuries and three fifties at a mean of 59.30, although India misplaced the series 1-4. This time Kohli went to England as captain of the team and revealed what Shastri instructed him and Shikhar Dhawan earlier than the beginning of the series.
“Well, it was after the England tour in 2014. He (Shastri) called me and Shikhar to his room. He called for a bat as well,” Kohli instructed Mayank Agarwal in a chat uploaded by BCCI.television. “He has such a keen understanding of the game. Little things that you do can make a huge difference, he knows that. Because from a lower-order player to opening the batting for India and averaging 40-plus and scoring hundreds almost everywhere in the world, you have to have a good understanding of the game. His understanding was very sharp.”
Before his tenure as India coach, in 2014 Shastri served as director of the Indian team for eight months, during which the team toured England, Australia and performed the 2015 World Cup. After the forgettable 2014 tour of England, Kohli went to Australia and burned up the charts with 692 runs. Kohli revealed it was attainable because of Shastri’s advice therefore he didn’t shy from utilizing it once more.
“He told me something, which I started practicing which is standing outside the crease. He explained the mindset behind it: ‘You should be in control of the space you’re playing and not give the bowlers to get you out. So many dismissals get taken out when you’re standing outside the crease.’ I started doing that in Australia and the results were unbelievable,” Kohli said.
“Ravi bhai asked me one thing, he asked me if I was afraid of the short ball. I said no. Then he said ‘good, then stand outside the crease’. I said I am willing to get hit but not get out. Before the tour game in 2018, Ravi bhai saw me practicing and asked me again why I was not standing outside the crease. ‘Why have you forgotten?’ So, I went back into the nets and did about 40 minutes of standing outside the crease. It was absolute chalk and cheese.”