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Virat Kohli’s batting technique analysis on England soil: From 2014 to 2021

Kohli was premeditatedly getting ready for inswinging deliveries from England pacers in 2014.

Sudharshan Sridharan Author

Updated - 6 August 2021 11:32 pm

Unlike Asian sub-continent pitches, the ball swings a lot for pace bowlers in English conditions and Indian batsmen have struggled to face the moving ball over the years. Virat Kohli, who is currently considered as one of the best batsmen of current generation, struggled during the 2014 series against England but redeemed himself in the 2018 Test series against the same side and announced the whole world why he is the king of cricket world currently.

Let us have a look at what changes he made in his technique from 2014 and 2018 Test series

1. Kohli’s problem with out swinging delivery in 2014 :

James Anderson dismissed Kohli 4 times during the 2014 series and all 4 times he has got the outside edge of Virat Kohli and catch went to slips (or) wicket-keeper. Other fast bowlers like Stuart Broad also kept bowling him outswingers to trouble him in that Test series. Virat Kohli was premeditatedly getting ready for inswinging delivery from England pacers and it can be seen that in his dismissals the back foot toe wasn’t in 90 degree angles and thus he couldn’t counter the outswinging deliveries and was susceptible for getting an outside edge regularly. The toe which was pointing the covers field direction didn’t help his cause in that tour as bowlers kept targeting him outside the off stump in that series

James Anderson vs Virat Kohli in 2014 Test Series :

Runs: 19 
Balls: 50 
Dismissals: 4
Batting Avg: 4.75

The image below represents Kohli’s dismissal to Anderson in the 2014 series. Here he was playing for an inswinging delivery but it was bowled at 4th (or) 5th stump and Virat Kohli’s backfoot toe being very slant and not at 90 degree position meant he couldn’t handle that swing and edged it to the slips.

2. Virat Kohli’s resumption in the 2018 series

In 2018 England series, Virat Kohli made changes to his technique by making a perfect footwork for countering the outswinging deliveries.

In the above image from 2018 England series you can clearly see that the backfoot toe is exactly at 90 degree angle which is pointing the point field direction and also he was coming out of crease and was playing shots late which helped him counter the outswinging deliveries. The eye-line and toe direction was focused exactly to play shots perfectly and counter swinging conditions. In the 2018 Test series though India lost by 1-4 margin but Kohli smashed 593 runs from 10 innings and was in form of life.

James Anderson vs Virat Kohli in the 2018 Test Series :

Runs: 114
Balls: 270 
Dismissals: 0

In the 10 innings Anderson wasn’t able to dismiss Virat Kohli even once during 2018, but there were 2 dropped chances of Kohli and he used those reprieves well and his improved technique helped him score lot of runs. During the 1st Test match in Birmingham, Virat Kohli was the saviour of the team, when all other Indian batsman were struggling to reach 25-30 runs in an innings. [Kohli in 1st Test : 149 in Birmingham where 2nd highest score was Dhawan’s 26]

The above image represents WTC final on Day 2 where Kohli ended his day with a score of 44*(124) and was solid while going for a big score. With perfect technique when it seem to go all right for King Kohli but where did he lose it in between. We will have a look at  what went wrong for Kohli in the New Zealand Test series 2020, WTC final 2nd innings and his first ball duck vs Anderson in this Test

3. Virat Kohli’s overseas batting problem in Tests since 2020

This image was Kohli’s golden duck against England in the 1st Test of 2021 series. Here again if we look at his body position and footwork we see Kohli getting prepared for an inswinging delivery but why did he expect an inswinging delivery from James Anderson at that point of time. To get answers for that we need to look at Kohli’s dismissal mode in 2020 New Zealand Test series.

During 2nd Test match vs New Zealand in 2020, Virat Kohli was dismissed LBW in Christchurch venue by both Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Southee. Also during the WTC final in the 1st innings when Virat Kohli was going solid he was dismissed by Kyle Jamieson with an inswinger.

During 2nd innings just two balls back Jamieson was again looking to threaten with inswinging deliveries but he bowled outswinging delivery and surprsied Kohli in the finals. The below image is 2nd innings dismissal of Virat Kohli in WTC final 2nd innings.


On Thursday too, when Kohli thought Anderson would bowl an inswinger, he surprised Kohli with outswinging delivery and lost his wicket in the very first ball which could have been well left that time.

Kohli is expected to make a stellar comeback in this series with a perfect judgement of reading bowlers mindset and idea of how to play different kind of deliveries as the situation demands.


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