England v India, 2nd ODI, Cardiff August 27, 2014

Kohli's 'aggressive' response fails to break duck


Virat Kohli's English summer of discontent is not over. His duck in Cardiff was the third on this tour after he failed to open his account twice during the five-match Test series. But his latest failure is likely to ring loud in Kohili's ears considering just before the start of play he had said that he was ready to "express" himself and "play aggressive" during the ODI series. Kohli said that it was a format where he felt comfortable and was confident that India could bounce back after the 3-1 defeat Test series.

"The Test series was a bit difficult. In a five-game series when you don't get going and you keep getting out, it is pretty difficult to comeback," Kohli told the former England batsman Nick Knight in an interview with Sky Sports. "We got a few days off, had a good practice game, got a few runs there. This format has always been where I express myself, don't think too much, don't pressurize myself too much. Just going to go out there, I back myself and play some aggressive cricket."

True to his word Kohli charged Chris Woakes, facing just his third ball, and drilled a drive straight into the hands of England captain Alastair Cook, who accepted the gift with a warm smile at mid-off. Even Kohli might admit that it was too much, too soon considering Shikhar Dhawan had departed earlier in the same over.

During the pre-match interview Kohli had been all bravado. Much maligned for his performance during the Pataudi Trophy where he had an aggregate of 139 runs from 10 innings, with a highest score of 39, Kohli said the change of formats was a good cure for his struggles.

"It is very easy to connect the two, but as a professional cricketer you have got to separate different formats and start afresh every game and every series. You have got to forget what has happened and try to play the best cricket you can in whatever is coming your way."

Kohli added that despite the failures of the Indian batsmen, they were now better equipped to deal with the challenges during the ODI series, reduced to four matches after the Bristol game was washed out on Monday. He also said having won the Champions Trophy last year in England gave the team an extra bit of confidence.

"Having been here for a month-and-a-half obviously helps a lot as well. What areas to hit when you are batting and bowling. We are going to be better prepared than we were in Champions Trophy. That was probably one of our best performances, [where we] surprised everyone. I hope we can play according to the conditions and whatever is thrown at us."

Despite being just 25 years old, Kohli has registered 19 ODI centuries, and is a close third behind the South African pair of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers on the ICC rankings in the 50-over format. He is already the third-highest century-maker for India, after Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly (only three behind Ganguly) and it has taken Kohli only six years to get there.

When Knight pointed out the feat Kohli, modest yet proud, said that he had worked hard and committed to a plan which made him climb to the heights only a few great batsmen have reached.

"It is quite surreal when I sit back and think about it. I didn't expect myself to be here so early. I have worked hard. Things have come my way and I have grabbed the opportunities that have come my way," he said. "The thing I look to do is win the game for the team till the end. And that is why I have gone on to make the three-figure mark more than a few occasions because I want to make the team win. It is not about me scoring a hundred. It is about making sure the team crosses the line or when I am batting first making sure the team gets a decent total on the board. So I look to bat throughout. That has been my strength."

On this occasion, however, that strength proved his downfall.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on August 29, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    if kohli goes runs less for whole year he can't be dropped because he has earned his spot in the team. he just needs one knock to get goin

  • S on August 28, 2014, 18:21 GMT

    Virat, is a wonderful top batting order player, his ambitions of foolishness not making him a one of the top players Indian's make. There are reasons for this, 1). Virat himself thinks as he is (following day on day stupid gossip from tele channels) going to be automatic choice as a skipper replacing Mr. Dhoni, that's the first and worst thought Virat and other players must erase from their mind-sets, and start playing for the team, that they are representing. 2). Mr. Dhoni is a wonderful team man, a great well wisher of the team and players success. I don't know what others think including Pundits, Mr. Dhoni must carry on leading the team for a long time to come from now. All of Indian cricket fans must and must wish Mr. Dhoni carries on as a player, keeper and leading the team until he retires. The finest Great Indian bunch like Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Anil Kumble, they all played with him, wished him, blessed him and retired happily. Fletcher shouldn't be coaching Indian Team....

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    @Sesachalam - Kohli is probably the best batsman available to Dhoni. I know Kohli has not been scoring of late, we do need to give him a break so he can sort out whatever problems he has got. One option before trying to drop him would be - give him a few games lower in the order, maybe a batting line-up that read - Dhawan, Sharma, Rahane, Raina, Dhoni, Kohli, ....... That way, at least in ODI's, unless the others decide to simply chuck a match, Kohli would come in after 30-over mark, when the ball would not swing as much. Gives him a better chance at getting a few balls off the middle of the bat & once that happens, a batsman's confidence improves....form would turn around.

  • Sagarneel on August 28, 2014, 14:50 GMT

    The only way to get him back to form is by India batting second chasing a 300+ target.

  • Dummy on August 28, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    Kohli will surely be back in form the next match and show his class

  • Sharad on August 28, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    Watched highlights of this match on Sky Sports last night - I didn't see a single ball from Mohit. What does that say?

  • Sathis on August 28, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    Well done India ! Anyway it was England's horrible weakness against spinners which helped India. But one must not forget that India's is a second rate spin attack and this would be hammered at the world cup by Pakistan, Sri Lanka and even Bangladesh who have no problem with spinners. India needs to think afresh about its bowling strategy at the world cup. India still has time to further groom Varun Aaron, Yadav, Shami and Pankaj as a pack and replace Dhoni with a young and dynamic wicket keeper who could handle genuine pace.

  • Obert on August 28, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    In a world where crazed people demand instant and constant gratification, I really feel for most of the people who live in the limelight. They are not allowed to fail but simple logic tells you that, being the humans they are, they have to pass through a bad patch like all of us. Kohli is a very capable batsman who just needs to regain his mojo. We tend to forget very quickly his demonstrations in the recent past of what he is capable of.

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    wow .. the comments!! i think rest the whole Indian team and make a playing 11 out of these guys instead !

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    Kohli has a long long way to go to become a superstar in test cricket. He is a very good ODI player although he failed today. He does not command the same respect and regard commanded by Sangakkara or Mahela who are down to earth well mannered human beings. BCCI tried to boss ICC by dragging England and Australia into it on the their financial strength. But unless India can back up that with performance in all formats it will not mean anything. The ODI series has just begun and there is no need to arrive at hasty conclusions. England might bounce back. In Eng-SL ODI series similar one sided matches took place until SL clinched the series in the final game. But England are not getting the process correct by playing virtually same XI in ODIs and Tests.

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