Virat Kohli didn’t take part in the only three-day intra-squad practice game played at Tuks Oval in Pretoria and had taken prior permission to meet his family in UK for a mini four-day vacation.
Virat Kohli came into the Centurion Test with only one proper net session on Christmas eve but India batting coach Vikram Rathour categorical said that at this stage of his career, the former captain doesn’t need to train a lot. Kohli didn’t take part in the only three-day intra-squad practice game played at Tuks Oval in Pretoria and had taken prior permission to meet his family in UK for a mini four-day vacation. On a Centurion pitch that offered a lot of bounce, Kohli looked in good touch for his 38 before Kagiso Rabada’s late away swinger squared him up as India finished the rain-hit Day-1 on 208 for eight.
“The stage of his career Virat (Kohli) is, I don’t think he needs a lot of practice,” Rathour said after the end of opening day’s play of the first Test against South Africa here on Tuesday.
“He bats a lot and trains a lot. So, if he practiced a few days less, doesn’t matter much. We saw, how well he was playing. It didn’t seem he was away from red ball cricket for six months. It’s a good sign,” the former India opener said.
Rahul is our ‘Crisis Man’
KL Rahul has once again stood tall amid ruins and Rathour couldn’t stop praising the senior batter.
“Rahul is turning out to be man of crisis for us. Every time, there are tough situations, he is the guy who handles it well for us. Nothing special, he was clear with his game plans, defended the right balls, attacked the right ones,” Rathour said.
Track was always going to be challenging
Rathour reckoned that overnight rain, drop in temperature and the track being under cover for one-and-half days added to the degree of difficulty the batters faced.
“It was always going to be challenging. The weather was an issue. The wicket was under cover for a day or more than that. It was always going to be challenging as batting group. We would have loved to have couple of more wickets in hand. But we have done reasonably well,” he defended.
“Post lunch, Rabada bowled an exceptional spell. We have to try and add as many runs as possible but as we have seen historically, this wicket deteriorates,” he reasoned.
South Africa also used the tactic of bowling on the ribs with a leg-slip in place, something that had given them a fair degree of success when the Indians came here in 2021-22.
“Not very often but in last series also there were 5-6 dismissals down leg side. At lunch, they bowled 65 balls down leg, if they bowled outside off, whether they would have got same success, that’s debatable,” Rathour said.
“Because of tennis ball like spongy bounce, it was a difficult delivery to control as you saw how (Shubman) Gill got out. I feel they used it as a tactic,” he added.