Time for Kohli to keep a free mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Gaurav Joshi

Before the current series between India and Australia in India, the last time Virat Kohli had shouldered arms to a ball that crashed into his off-stump was against England at Lord’s in 2014. The ball would start a rotten trot for Kohli, as he failed to score a fifty in the next seven innings on that tour.

That delivery from Liam Plunkett had jagged back sharply against the slope at Lord’s and clearly affected his batting during the series. So much so that he went looking for the inswinger all the time which resulted him being opened up which caused him to nick off at will against the English seamers.

The pitches in India might be long way away from England but Steven O’Keefe’s straight ball in Pune has once again left the Indian skipper in a scrambled state of mind. All of a sudden, he is thinking about the big turning ball or for that matter the straighter one.

There seems to be self doubt which has crept in his mind. If England was anything to go by, it may take Kohli a long time to get over the barrier.  At least during that phase in England, he was not burdened by the captaincy. Now he is. Suddenly he finds himself struggling with the bat and as a leader.

One of the great aspects of Kohli’s batting in the past two years has been his ability to be unaffected by the past. He has gone on record to state that what he has done in the previous game should be forgotten and the best approach is to look forward.

Starting with a fresh mind has been his mantra to success. But since his dismissal in Pune, he seems to have deviated from his plans on playing each ball on the merit. Instead he is letting the previous deliveries affect his mindset.  The mind is not free, it is in knot and Kohli is a shadow of a batsman that we have become accustomed to for the past two years.

Perhaps if there is one lesson Kohli can learn, it is from his opposing captain, Steve Smith. The Aussie skipper had a fixed mindset coming into the Test series, that even if he was beaten on numerous occasions, he should not let that bother him.

Maybe it was time Kohli started to think on those lines if he is to rediscover that magic touch. One thing that history does show us however is, if Kohli has to overcome the mental issue. Then the runs will flow bigger than ever before.

 

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