NZ vs IND: Technique key to excel on Kiwi pitches - Mohinder Amarnath

Batsmen need to refrain from flamboyant strokeplay in seaming conditions, says the former India all-rounder.

Amarnath expects Virat Kohli to return to form soon.   -  AP

One of India’s finest batsmen, Mohinder Amarnath hoped Virat Kohli would come good in the second Test against New Zealand starting Saturday in Christchurch. Kohli has aggregated a mere 201 runs in nine innings across all formats with just one half century.

“It is not that they have not played there. They have done well earlier but the difference here is that Virat has not performed,” said Amarnath, in town on a private visit. Another reason, he emphasised, was the absence of K. L. Rahul from the team. “Rahul has done well. He's been the man in form. And you have to play the man in form. I am surprised he is not playing in Tests in this series. He would have been better than trying someone out.

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“If you see India’s performance overseas in the last two years, Virat has been the key. Sometimes luck doesn’t favour you. But I’m sure he’ll come good in the second Test. He’s a great player. He has the technique to shine in all conditions. All great players adjust themselves very quickly and Virat knows what he is supposed to [do]. He won’t fail in too many things.”

Amarnath, who excelled in testing conditions away from home, insisted there was a technical aspect too.

Champion overseas: Mohinder Amarnath plays a cut during the Christchurch Test in February, 1976. The middle-order batsman scored nine of his 11 centuries away from home. - THE HINDU ARCHIVES


“The technique of Indian batsmen is good on harder pitches. Or on Indian pitches where the ball is not doing much in the air or off the surface. In New Zealand, you have to play the way Ajinkya [Rahane] does. I really like the way he bats. You have to play very tight and with soft hands, especially when you are defending.”

Adjustment needed

In Amarnath’s opinion, the batsmen were “jabbing” at the ball. “When the ball takes an edge it carries. Not the case when you play with soft hands. When you play tight you may miss connecting those deliveries. The technical aspect of batting has been the reason for the failure in this Test. You have to adjust. You can’t play in your flamboyant style even if it is your natural game.”

Bounce, he noted, was not the problem. “You can cope with the bounce. It’s the seam movement and the swing where the technique comes into play. You have to be there all the time and concentrate hard. Not that they don’t do but the shortcomings show obviously. The bat is mostly away from the body. If the ball seams and swings in the second Test, too, the Indians will be on a tough test.”

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