Cricketer-turned commentator Gautam Gambhir feels that experts are sometimes too harsh on Virat Kohli. On the opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka, Kohli made 45 runs off 76 deliveries, including five boundaries.
Kohli got off to a good start with a leading edge over cover while trying to play a Lasith Embuldeniya delivery to the leg side in his 100th Test. Five short of a fifty, he was castled by the same bowler as his failed to end his century drought.
During a Star Sports interview, Gambhir was asked about Kohli’s jittery start and the concentration breakdown when he appeared to be in control. Gambhir’s response was:
“At times we are too critical of Virat Kohli because even if he plays one bad shot, we say lapse in concentration. If you talk about the start, every player is nervous, not only Virat; the greatest players in the world are nervous, especially when you are playing your 100th Test.”
During his knock, he made another milestone as Virat Kohli became only the sixth Indian cricketer to reach the 8000-run mark in the longest format of the game. He reached the landmark on the second delivery of the 39th over of the innings when he steered Vishwa Fernando for a single past point.
According to Gambhir Kohli was dismissed as a result of an inaccuracy in assessing the length of the delivery. Explaining this, the former Indian team player said:
“Here there was a misjudgment of length. The same deliveries he was playing on the front foot before this, and nothing was happening. He played back, the ball spun a little, and he got beaten, but before that, the sort of batting he did, he was in absolute control.”
Gambhir was also asked if Virat Kohli was attempting to move the ball to the on-side. This is due to the Sri Lankan captain’s decision to place two fielders at extra cover. Gambhir responded:
“I don’t think so. I feel if you play a full delivery off the back foot, you give that much time for the delivery to spin. When you play the same ball off the front foot, the ball does not get that much chance to turn.
“If he had been playing on the leg side, the bat’s face might have been more closed. It was not that closed here. If you see the ball, it pitched on the middle stump and hit the edge of the off-stump, so it did not turn that much. So it was just a misjudgment of length; he should have played this ball off the front foot.”