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‘Pulling was his B game’: Dale Steyn on playing mind games with Virat Kohli

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Virat Kohli was more susceptible to short balls when he had just broken through to the Indian team and so Dale Steyn used to keep a short leg for him even if he planned to bowl overpitched balls, the former South African pacer said.

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The 37-year-old Steyn, who played 93 Tests for South Africa and took 439 wickets, said that by putting a fielder at short leg, he used to give the impression he was going to bowl bouncers.

“You’ve got to play the mind games with Virat. I would look at putting somebody in at short leg. I would let him know that I’m going to come at him, come at his body, want to come quickly at him. And I’d want him to try and pull, because I feel like that’s his B game,” Steyn told Sanjay Manjrekar on ESPNCricinfo.

“I’d want him to think I’m going to go short, but I’ll probably bowl six full balls to him to be honest. I’ll probably try to get him to nick every single ball, but I’ll be telling him, ‘it’s coming I’m going to hit you in the head you know’. I’m not going to swear at him but let him know that that short leg is in business,” said Steyn.

Kohli and Steyn have shared a close camaraderie from their time in the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the team which gave Steyn his IPL swansong last year.

“Whenever I meet him, he gives me the biggest hug, and it’s been consistent throughout. Even if we have to play a game before that, we are always really friendly… I think I’ve shared a great friendship with a lot of South African players over the years, and Dale has to be one of the more special ones,” Kohli had said about his RCB teammate on the eve of the 2015 World Cup.

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