Virat Kohli: Sachin’s advice helped me improve after 2014 England tour

Virat Kohli says technical changes through consultation with Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri and Duncan Fletcher helped him become a better batsman.

In this picture taken on 9 August, 2014, Virat Kohli walks back after being dismissed for 7 during the fourth Test at Old Trafford.   -  AP

Virat Kohli had a dour series with the bat in England in the summer of 2014. He averaged 13.40 in the five Tests, with as many as five single-digit scores.

In a conversation with Mayank Agarwal, the India opener, for bcci.tv, Kohli said he made small changes to his batting technique through consultations with Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri and Duncan Fletcher to become a more rounded batsman.

“My hip position was an issue during that England tour [in 2014]. It was basically not adjusting to the conditions and doing what I wanted to do. So being rigid doesn’t take you anywhere. It was a long and painful realisation but I realised it,” he said.

'Big stride'

“I came back from England and spoke to Sachin paaji and had a few sessions with him in Mumbai. I told him that I am working on my hip position. He made me realise the importance of big stride, a forward press against fast bowlers as well. The moment I started doing that with my hip alignment, things started ironing out nicely and I became more and more confident of following that pattern, and then the Australia tour [of 2014-15] happened,” he said.

He also changed his stance after Shastri, then the India team director, advised him to do so after 2014 tour of England.

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“He called me and Shikhar [Dhawan] to his room. Shikhar also wanted to have a word with him about something. He called for a bat as well. He told me something which I started practising after which is standing outside the crease, and he explained the mindset behind, ‘You should be in control of the space you’re playing in, and not give the bowlers so many opportunities to get you out. So many dismissals get taken out when you’re outside the crease, and you can really understand the position you’re in.’ I started practising that in Australia afterwards and the results were unbelievable.”

In this picture taken on 21 December, 2013, Duncan Fletcher shares some tips with Virat Kohli during a practice session in Mohali ahead of the fourth One-Day International between India and England. - AKHILESH KUMAR

 

Kohli scored 692 runs in the four Tests in Australia in 2014-15, averaging 86.50.

Bigger stance

“I made my stance bigger, which was a conversation I had had with Duncan Fletcher. He also had an amazing understanding of the game. Loved working with him as well. This broad stance is something I spoke to him about, for that forward press and giving me that balance from where I could play the ball with conviction off the front foot.

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“Also, he asked me one question: whether I’m comfortable then in taking on the short ball from the same base, which I was. Then he said, then it works out amazingly for you. And Ravi bhai also asked me, ‘Are you scared of the short ball?’ I said I am not scared of the short ball. I don’t mind getting hurt, I just don’t want to get out.”

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