New Zealand v India, 2nd ODI, Hamilton

Important to want to hit the short ball - Kohli

Abhishek Purohit in Hamilton

January 21, 2014

Comments: 45 | Text size: A | A
You have got to commit to your shot entirely - Kohli

If India's batsmen need advice in tackling the short ball, they can get it from their team-mate who cracked 123 off 111 in his first international innings in New Zealand, in the first ODI in Napier. Before the second match in Hamilton, Virat Kohli said that it was important to want to hit the short ball in order to get into a good position to do so, while elaborating on his approach.

New Zealand had made it clear before the series started that they planned to target the Indians with pace and bounce, especially on faster pitches, and four of India's top six subsequently fell to the short ball in Napier. Kohli said that as international batsmen, the Indians needed to be technically and physically better equipped to deal with that.

"It's a very personal choice of any team, what sort of plan they want to come up with against us," Kohli said. "I think a lot of teams have tried to bounce us out but that hasn't been the case for the longest time that I have seen. Mostly the bouncer is a plan to set you up for the next ball to nick you off. A bouncer is never to scare you away, it is just to put in the batsman's head that there might be a short ball coming, another one, because you have two in the over now.


Virat Kohli handled the short ball well, South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 2nd day, December 27, 2013
Virat Kohli was one of the few Indian batsmen who played the short ball well in South Africa © Associated Press
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"I think as international cricketers, we have got to be good enough to stand up to that challenge and be fit enough to actually react to those deliveries. That's where your fitness counts as well. If you are not fit enough, you might not have the reflexes to actually tackle a ball thrown at 150 kmph and you might be totally exposed or found in a very uncomfortable spot. As I said, we should be prepared to face anything. If it is a seaming wicket, if they are trying to nick us off, then we should be technically correct to tackle that. If they are trying to bounce us out, we should be technically correct to leave the ball or, if confident, pull the ball."

Detailing his own methods, Kohli said one could either strike or leave a bouncer in the end, but it was important to be balanced and set up to play the initial shot.

"I think even to leave the ball on a bouncer, it is very important to want to hit the ball. If you are looking to leave the ball, your weight is already on the back foot and then you are in no position to leave or hit the ball. If you are looking to hit the ball, you take your body forwards and then you can be balanced enough to duck under it. I think that is one key aspect that a lot of people mistake.

"If you are looking to leave the ball, then more often than not you will get hit on the glove or the helmet. If I am looking to hit the ball, then I can get under the ball much better, I have much better balance because my body is going forward. I have a good base to duck under the ball.

Kohli said he preferred to pull rather than hook, and that too in front of square, a strategy he said gave him more control. "Even if I am not ducking, if I have a good base, then I have confidence to actually pull the ball and I look to hit it in front of square. I hardly look to hook the ball unless it is on my body, so it gives me more control. It gives you that extra half a second because you know you have to hit the ball in front of square, so you have to be quick enough to do that. You have to be quick enough to tackle the ball coming at 140."

Having a clear mind was also crucial, Kohli said. Completely backing whatever he decided to do with a particular delivery, and doing it wholeheartedly, was something he said he had picked up in South Africa.

"One thing I learnt in South Africa was when you are batting, whatever you are doing, you need to commit to it fully," he said. "Because people are bowling at you at 140-145 kph, there is not much time to decide and think later on, after the ball is bowled. Whatever you want to do, you got to read the length and commit to the shot. If you want to leave the ball, you have got to commit to that."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Nerk on (January 22, 2014, 2:43 GMT)

Very profound argument. Who would have thought that playing short bowling required you to watch the ball closely, stay balanced and follow through with the shot. Who would have thought it?

Posted by Chris_P on (January 21, 2014, 21:37 GMT)

@blthndr ."If you are looking to leave the ball, your weight is already on the back foot and then you are in no position to leave or hit the ball". I guess you don't play cricket, but I'll try to set you straight. Going on the back foot is the BEST way of playing the short ball. When you pick it up the right foot (if right handed) goes back & slightly across (how far depends if you play the hook or duck). This allows you to drop your left knee & duck taking you below the line of the ball. If you hook or pull (which I nearly always do personally) you watch the ball & use your back foot to swivel as you play the ball to its intended direction. I don't play with a helmet as I learnt to play without it so always keep my head inside the line of the ball, but even if you do, you tend to leave your head more in the line of the ball. Playing off the front foot leaves you less time & cramps you up to play a full shot.

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 18:47 GMT)

the important thing is he said you have to be good enough and that is the thing they are not good enough only good at home where the ball doesnt bounce above waist height and wickets are like graveyard for bowlers

Posted by Temuzin on (January 21, 2014, 18:31 GMT)

Rohit Sharma has proper technique and foot work, but the guy cant even touch the ball and he is sure pick in the eleven. In my opinion Rohit derails Indian batting and Ishant indian bowling. Replace these two and team India will start winning again.

Posted by Nampally on (January 21, 2014, 16:41 GMT)

Kohli's advise is fine as long as the batsmen is set+can get their feet in position + get their timing right. But guys like Raina, Jadeja or Dhoni do not have proper foot work or technique to get into position quickly enough. So they need to leave the ball well alone instead of foolishly surrendering their Wicket. If Dhoni thinks the bouncer is like a red flag waved at the raging bull & goes for his hook, he will be an easy out. He did this in the very first over bowled to him & he paid dearly cost India the Match. Jadeja did the same at a short pitched ball to claim his golden Duck. Raina has fallen many times to bouncers- long way outside the leg. Common sense tells us: leave the bouncer down the leg side well alone to get a single + an extra ball + bowler who wasted twice his energy.30% of bouncers fall in this category. So out of 8o possible bouncers from 4 seamers, 25 singles! Clearly NZ is goading India into this "suicidal Hook". Be COOL- Do Not fall a Prey to this Gamesmanship!

Posted by Sultan2007 on (January 21, 2014, 16:19 GMT)

Dont understand why Rohit Sharma's batting pedigree is under question again. Dont put ptressure on him, Guys. He is quality. And it will show. 3 batsmen of pedigree are Virat, Pujara and Rohit. Build the Team around them in all forms of cricket. I would call to question the futures of Raina and Shikhar. Both have a short ball problem - of different kinds though. Shikhar is compulsive and Raina shows bravado. I think he is scared of being hit like Dada was! Both Raina and shikhar should pay heed to Virat's technique. Makes lot of sense to get on the front foot with a uni dimensional mind set - which is to hit the ball. At the very least this takes one fork out of the decision tree

Posted by BigINDFan on (January 21, 2014, 16:01 GMT)

Kohli is right in his attitude and that is why he will be successful. Rohit and Dhawan can learn from him to make the Ind top order strong. Ind won the matches against Aus in India when the top 3 scored a lot of runs.

Raina is not a good fit in the ODI line up, replace him with Rayudu or Binny. All else will be fine. They should look at Pujara since he is a great player of fast and short bowling as well as spin. He may not score rapidly like Dhawan or Kohli but he is solid in the top order unless Rahane and Rayudu can do that.

Posted by   on (January 21, 2014, 14:41 GMT)

Bouncers are always trouble any top class batsmen in the world. History reveals that even present day cricket, English batsmen too were troubled by Australian bowlers and years back West Indian bowlers dominated. Years back Sandip Patil was hit in one Test and he came back very hard and hit back all same bowlers in the next encounter and scored 170 plus. This means, Dedication and determination of batsmen can alone solve.

Posted by cricket-is-passion on (January 21, 2014, 12:53 GMT)

I think another biggest worry that India has is Jadeja's batting form. currently he is performing as a bowler, but he was taken into account under allrounder quota. Jadeja has to work hard to come back strong as a batter as well otherwise his position may be in danger. Kohli has been playing well and I think he is another batsman pretty much scored century on all test playing nations. He is also good learner, more over his aggression is what putting him on top. Rohit used to be attacking player but he is playing so defensively, he has to come out of that mindset and play positively. Dhawan is good, and have to concentrate more on why he is not able to convert starts into 50's/100's before disappear. I would recommend too many changes, except playing Binni and/or Rayudu in place of one spinner/Raina. Easiest thing I wud think is replace Raina with Binni/Rayudu and test them at that level and with Binni he can bat and bowl as well. any ways good luck Team India, win the series.

Posted by swarzi on (January 21, 2014, 12:36 GMT)

@ Francis Arun Bjorn Mel, The Gt Sunil Gavascar is arguably the best batsman of All Time against "FAST" and well directed bouncers. Yet, he told us all that not even he was comfortable against it! So, I don't know what is your problem. In fact, I don't think that since Bret Lee retired from test cricket, I've seen any bowling at any 'sustained' pace to call real 'FAST' bowling; until I saw Mitchell Johnson against the English men in Australia recently. What Mitch was doing is close to what middle aged cricket enthusiasts like me were more accustomed to call "FAST BOWLING" long ago. Gavascar and players of his era used to have four like that coming after him/them from both ends for an entire test match. They faced them without helmets; on less prepared pitches. And look at how devastating Mitchell Johnson ALONE was against England on good pitches. So, you would see why we only laugh when people are comparing the soft guys of now with what the real thing was then in Sunny Gavascar days!

Posted by SRRY on (January 21, 2014, 12:17 GMT)

Indian batsmen can't play - end of argument. Rohit, Shikhar,Yuvraj,Suresh will win tons of money like Sachin - but can hardly give any comfort to the Indian supporter. Only shame for the lousy Indian poverty stricken spineless and corrupted Indian.

Posted by IPSY on (January 21, 2014, 12:10 GMT)

Abhishek, articles like these usually put some of these Indian batsmen in the spotlight and get them into trouble! I'm a great fan of Virat Kohli. He's a very good player. He has come leaps and bounds against the short ball. But of course, he's no Roy Fredericks! In fact, this very short stint in SA and NZ is not enough 'real pace' for anyone to be crowning him as any "Short-ball Bully"! I think the youth would prefer to be left alone at this juncture to develop his whole game, before anyone start putting him in the spotlight every time he's being embarrassed by the short ball, causing the question, "how they say that he's this big short-ball King"? You know what, I think this old 'short-ball-novices' stuff, no longer describes subcontinent batsmen. That was the SRT era - but they all ducked and bob-and-weaved it for successful careers. The modern guys can hold their own! Hence, this is now a no issue topic. In fact, the best batsmen are those who're most competent against spin.

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 10:27 GMT)

Dhoni should make Rohit and Raina speak to Virat Kohli.

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 9:54 GMT)

@ Muhammad Tanweer. Indian fans critiquing their own Team is called objectivity besides we love the extremes!

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 9:51 GMT)

Most of our batsmen cannot play fast and well directed bouncers. They should admit to it and leave it alone, else every opponent will be doing it and soon you will be out of the Team. Look at Yuvraj Singh. Raina is next.

Posted by viveksjayan on (January 21, 2014, 9:22 GMT)

I think Rahane & Dhawan shld open & Rohit shld play at no.4 & Raina at No.5, Biinny shld play instead of Ashwin. He is good allrounder in the making i think...!

Posted by Sandeshgk on (January 21, 2014, 9:17 GMT)

India need to go with 3 faster bowler and 1 spinner. replace raina with other player. why he is in the team(For IPL CSK???) Rohit need to play with attacking shot.

Posted by Iceman29 on (January 21, 2014, 8:46 GMT)

Why can't Kohli talk some sense to his team mates?

Posted by CricketMaan on (January 21, 2014, 8:30 GMT)

The short ball is one thing that won't go away in WC15, but its not the only concern whcih will pull down Team India. Its thier wobbly middle order and death bowling on these conditions that could hurt them. Ashwin is now where Bhajji was when he left the team, he contains but does not pick wickets. Teams have conciously targeted him while Ronchi did that to Jadeja which came off. In a bigger ground Ronchi's shots would have been caught. I did like the fact that Shami, Ishant and Bhuvi changed thier length in that last 4-5 overs and conceded 35 runs. That was a huge positive, given that both Corey and Ronchi were in peak hitting form. Can they repeat it day in day out is the question! I can't see Dhoni dropping Ishant after 1st ODI so have to see what Ishant learned from that ODI.

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 8:30 GMT)

its so much fun to see absolute criticism from indian against there own players. i think none of rohit and raina has a place in batting. and Jadeja is just a crap in foriegn conditions..

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (January 21, 2014, 8:13 GMT)

It s important to play your NATURAL GAME first and foremost. Geoff Boycott hardly hit a short ball and he was a quality batsman.

Play to your instincts not to rules others lay down

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 8:04 GMT)

Dhawan has been found wanting against the short ball a number of times. Rohit just doesn't seem at place outside of India and should rightly be replaced by a Rahane or a Uthappa for that matter. Rohit can b played in the middle order if you dont want to drop him. Raina Jaddu and Ashwin should not be played together. Must try Binny, Pandey and give a long rope to both Aaron and Yadav. Get rid of Is-haunt sharma at the earliest . Still feel that the WC being held in Australia New Zealand there is scope for Pujara at 4. The team can be - dhawan, rahane, kohli, pujara, rohit, dhoni, jaddu, binny, kumar, yadav/aaron, shami. This leaves ashwin, raina, pathan, pandey, yuvraj rayadu uthappa and other probables to fight for the slots remaining.

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 8:00 GMT)

good batting show by virat ... adorable batsman. Raina needs to be rested n send him with A teams to abroad so he can learn to play on.bouncy wickets. Rohit is a talent but lacks application like many talented batsmen of asia. Dhawan is street smart i hope he ll find a way out of this soon. why not try binny but his bowling will come good only in seaming conditions but on dry bouncy wicket he struggle more however he can better rather than playing two spinners. PAK also depend on slow bowlers for middle overs but they included two seamer allrounders for SA tour n got reaults. Dhoni should try binny in all remaining 4 ODIs VS NZ to develop him for WC 2015.

Posted by screamingeagle on (January 21, 2014, 7:55 GMT)

This guy does think and thinks sensibly. Wish Raina et al took a leaf out of his book.

Posted by Sandeshgk on (January 21, 2014, 7:44 GMT)

Ishant ,Raina and Ashwin Should drop they are performing.give chanse other player.I don,t know remember when raina makes 50????

Posted by raghucha on (January 21, 2014, 7:44 GMT)

instead of jadeja selectors can give chance to uv

Posted by Real_AB on (January 21, 2014, 7:36 GMT)

Raina and Ishant needs to be dropped, they have become a liability.

Only one of Jadeja and Ashwin fits in the team in these conditions, and in these conditions both are equal as spinners but Ashwin is a far better batsman so he should get the nod.

When we see Jadeja bat like the way he has done in SAF and now in the last match in NZ it makes us wonder about the quality of bowling in our domestic matches. It's hard to believe we are seeing the same player bat who have scored 2 triple centuries in Ranji Matches. Sorry to say but Ishant looks a better batsman than him.

I think it was a blunder not to select Pujara for this tour, he needs to be blooded into the team before the world cup next year. He will be a big asset in conditions of Australia and NZ. He is a perfect No. 4 to come after 3 attacking batsman. Dhoni needs to accept that he can't carry Ishant and Raina without hurting the team chances of a win and look for their replacements. Pujara is one, need to find a fast bowler.

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (January 21, 2014, 7:35 GMT)

Some very valid observations from Virat which shows his clear headedness. Some of the best and natural hook players I have seen in recent times have been Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. When they see the length and know it is short the first move they make is forward. Then they go back rising with the ball and hook it. That will only happen if they know that a short ball is a scoring opportunity. In other words that should be the mindset that needs to be a given for all the top six batsmen. It is important however to keep the line of the short ball. If it is heading outside off, thinking of hooking may not be a right option when one has to sway back from the line.The important thing is to have a clear thinking on what one has to to do and not get surprised.Not all fast bowlers can bowl a bouncer that heads for your head and just short of length. That is when one has to be judicious.Being like Ponting and Hussey may be ideal but it comes from being brought up on their kind of wickets.

Posted by Shaikh-s on (January 21, 2014, 7:35 GMT)

Well Mr. Virat as you know its only the confidence that matters, to be in form is other thing and doing all u explain is other, the game is all about the pressure how u react to the pressure situation Dhoni is the best example playing under presure situation i dont find any other player better than MSD in crunch situation. Please Virat you are in form now thats why it looks pretty easy to you, you will be ask when running in bad form?

Posted by Big_3_kills_Cricket on (January 21, 2014, 7:34 GMT)

Short ball should be banned from international cricket using the power of the cricket board

Posted by Shaikh-s on (January 21, 2014, 7:33 GMT)

Well Mr. Virat as you know its only the confidence that matters, to be in form is other thing and doing all u explain is other, the game is all about the pressure how u react to the pressure situation Dhoni is the best example playing under presure situation i dont find any other player better than MSD in crunch situation. Please Virat you are in form now thats why it looks pretty easy to you, you will be ask when running in bad form?

Posted by shahnawazarshad on (January 21, 2014, 7:29 GMT)

VK is speaking so well why not he has a word with his team member that could be beneficial for the whole team..

Posted by Pank_India on (January 21, 2014, 7:28 GMT)

Keeping Ishant sharma, Rohit sharma and Raina in team is not helping India in any match outside subcontinent.Dhoni should try Varun Aaron, Raydu and Stuart Binny instead.

Ajinkya rahane can open with Shikhar Dhawan and Raydu, Binny can play @ 4th and 5th position.

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 7:22 GMT)

he is right on the money..... kohli too was not.comfortable with short ball early in his career. now he.looks like he has no weakness, he developed his own way of playing short balls, much like Ponting... that's is what every Indian batsmen should learn... learn the basics of playing short ball... and.kohli has learned his basics and he has made them strong....

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (January 21, 2014, 7:07 GMT)

I think that they don't want to ruin what pujara has going on right now as he averages 70 odd. I think the selextors may reckon that odi may change his temperament and playing style. But raina is still a very good player just hes been going through a rough patch with the short ball as a lot of batsmen do.

Posted by hari_surya on (January 21, 2014, 7:05 GMT)

I think Suresh raina, should be dropped from the team so much of chances, he even could not perform well against Zim team, he only a T20 master player and IPL King. if you look at the past his record says, So many other players who are waiting in the wings are not considered. I think this is because of Dhoni's presence he is there. Selectors should make a proper decision and bring in right players who are capable.

Also our great legend spinner R.Ashwin who is not at all performing still there and ishant sharma who is getting beating all over the place is there, So selectors make a bold and proper decision so that it is benift to indian cricket team

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 7:02 GMT)

binny for ashwin arvon for ishant sharma india vs newzealand

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 7:01 GMT)

bring sturt binny in place of aswhin and arun aron in for ishant sharma

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (January 21, 2014, 6:58 GMT)

@Albert_cambell Why do you worry about Indian team always why not celebrate your pak victory yesterday and have some peace.

Posted by rudro323 on (January 21, 2014, 6:50 GMT)

its gd to see tht kohli can play the short ball better thn any othr indian batsman.bt dnt loose ur wicket.becz in abroad two or three players are performing.others are jst filling the 11 man squad.rohit sharma useless in opening.he is jst spoiling 3-4 over to become set.leaving some juicy ball jst like a amatear.thn got out and created a huge burden to new batsman and also dhawan.jadeja is nt a batsman and thts why he should compete with any jenuine spinner during selection.raina is a player of 15-20 run.he has only few big scores.bt nmbr 4 position is like more imprtant thn his batting.no more comment for ishant sharma.nt a talent to be played in international cricket.overall i think those players got support frm dhoni and still playing matches.there r so many nw talent.u hv to give them chance.who is dhoni?no more thn a player.so,he has to understand without perfrmance no one is permanent.its nt only a game and shopping around world bt also a repect and pride to country.

Posted by blthndr on (January 21, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

"If you are looking to leave the ball, your weight is already on the back foot and then you are in no position to leave or hit the ball. If you are looking to hit the ball, you take your body forwards and then you can be balanced enough to duck under it.......raina u should take master class from virat....

Posted by class9ryan on (January 21, 2014, 6:36 GMT)

Except for a few in Kohli, MSD, Rohit, Rahane I'm not convinced that anybody plays the pull shot well in India.

Posted by AjitDJ on (January 21, 2014, 6:25 GMT)

Why are the selectors keeping Pujara out of the ODI team? Is it to accomodate Raina?

Posted by bijumonssss on (January 21, 2014, 6:22 GMT)

well well well said it like a coach. kohli is the real motivation. india should come back hard

Posted by Albert_cambell on (January 21, 2014, 5:50 GMT)

I think the selectors should look to bring Mithali raj into the side.Atleast she can play the short balls better than the current crop of players from the Indian team.

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