Skipper Virat Kohli, who slammed a double ton here in 2016, eyes big runs as India take on New Zealand in second Test starting today
India captain Virat Kohli at the BCK indoor facility yesterday. Pic/BCCI
When Virat Kohli endured his toughest phase as an international cricketer—the horrendous tour to England in 2014—he went straight to the indoor academy at the Bandra Kurla Complex to train with legendary Sachin Tendulkar. The result: A transformed Kohli.
The India captain was back at the same Mumbai Cricket Association nets on Thursday to prepare for the second Test against No.1-ranked New Zealand as unseasonal rain hampered preparations at the Wankhede Stadium for today’s battle.
Barring a few players, the entire Indian team had a hit at the indoor facility. Although captain Kohli is not in a similar phase at the moment, the record-breaking batsman is in the middle of a 24-month century drought. His last international ton came in November 2019 during the day-night Test against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
Kohli has had several fifties in the last couple of years, but the run-machine being without a century is unusual by his standards. He is joining the team after being rested for the three-T20I series against New Zealand and the first Test at Kanpur, which ended in a thrilling draw. He returns to a venue where he scored a majestic 235 against England in 2016. Kohli has scored 433 in six innings here and is looking forward to playing at one of his favourite venues. “I really enjoy playing at the Wankhede, a ground where I have happy memories of. More than that [the double century], it’s the impact you leave on the team that matters to me the most. That’s precisely my focus every time I take the field. I want to do my best for the team in that situation. And if the situation demands to bat for a longer period and put the team in a dominant situation or get the team out of trouble, I take a lot of pride in doing that,” said Kohli.
He’s had a quiet build-up to the second Test, practising with Sanjay Bangar, former India batting coach and currently head coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore, at the Brabourne Stadium. “The idea was to get repetition and volume, which is important in Test cricket. It is about getting into that headspace that you want to play in a certain way in a certain format,” he said about his preparation.
Kohli’s assessment of the pitch? “Typical” Wankhede pitch—will not be a “rank-turner or seam-friendly” and all types of bowlers will have something to offer.
No. of runs scored by Virat Kohli in four Tests at Wankhede @ 72.16