Virat Kohli, who has not hit a century since November 2019, failed to dominate New Zealand bowlers in the recently-concluded ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final despite getting a good start in the first innings. Addressing the issue, former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar said that it might be constantly playing on Kohli’s mind.
“He has already scored close to 7,500 Test runs, and this is a format, where he just simply gives it his all. It’s not that he doesn’t value T20I or ODI cricket; he plays with equal intensity, but the job satisfaction that he derives – because this is the toughest format,” Bangar said on Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected.
“In modern times, because there are no dead rubbers, every Test match is valued. This means that whatever is on offer – from a batting perspective – is always challenging for the batsman. So, to excel in each and every Test match, and obviously, to get over the drought of the three-figure – which may have been playing on his mind – I think this is something that he would look ahead to.”
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“The way he batted in the first innings was a clear indication of the kind of touch and the kind of rhythm he was in. So, I think it augurs well for the Indian team,” he added.
The 48-year-old also feels that rain interruptions played a major part in the WTC final and things could have been different if it was not a constant threat.
“Yeah, definitely it could have been different. With a threat of rain looming over all the time, it doesn’t really give players the freedom to go out and play for extended amounts of time. Because obviously, there’s a break in concentration, as well as the normal wear and tear of the wicket – that it generally undergoes if it has completed 450 overs of play,” Bangar explained.
Meanwhile, Bangar is also impressed by the 17-year-old sensation Shafali Verma. The explosive opener scored twin half-centuries in the women’s team’s only Test against England and played a major part in the well-fought draw in Bristol.
“Her (Shafali Verma) future can only be bright and the only way she’s going to go from here is up and the sky is the limit. Even though India play fewer Test matches, but this was a fantastic opportunity and the way she approached the game was refreshing. She played with a fearless attitude and put the opposition on the back foot straightaway,” said Bangar.
“You mentioned how she resembles Sehwag in her approach and mind you if she continues to do that. Since the time Sehwag started opening for the Indian team in overseas Test matches, there was a huge difference in the eventual results of the matches. And this could also propel the way Shafali is playing. If she continues to play in this fashion, she can definitely chart some great and memorable victories overseas as well for the Indian women’s team.”