Bengaluru: Virat Kohli’s intense net practice sessions reflect a concentrated version of his actual gameplay, focusing on addressing specific challenges anticipated in the forthcoming World Cup matches. In a recent optional net session, Kohli meticulously prepared to counter the short-pitched deliveries and left-arm spin, likely to be a concern in the semi-final face-off against New Zealand, as reported by news agency PTI.
As the Kiwis gear up for the Mumbai semi-finals on November 15, India’s immediate aim involves confronting the Netherlands. However, the Dutch team doesn’t pose the same level of challenge as New Zealand, who have secured a last-four spot based on their superior run-rate and 10 points in the tournament.
Key to the impending battle against New Zealand is the threat posed by Lockie Ferguson, who demonstrated formidable form against Sri Lanka with his aggressive short-pitched deliveries. The express pacer, yet to replicate his 2019 World Cup form due to an Achilles issue, displayed a powerful show against the Lankans, signaling a potentially intense showdown against India.
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Kohli, known for his robust batting against bodyline tactics, remains unshaken by short-pitched deliveries. However, he didn’t leave anything to chance during the net practice as claimed in the same PTI report. Facing an array of bouncers from Shardul Thakur and specialized bowlers, Kohli effortlessly dispatched many shots, even attempting ramp shots, valuable tactics which could come in handy against a rapid bowler like Ferguson.
The challenge is twofold for Kohli, considering Mitchell Santner’s left-arm spin, a weakness in the Indian star’s record. Santner’s consistent performances have troubled batters in the tournament, with impressive stats of 16 wickets at an economical 4.6. Kohli’s statistics against left-arm spinners further emphasize his struggle in recent times, hinting at the meticulous practice sessions faced against the left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja.
While Kohli seems well-prepared for the potential challenges ahead, the Indian squad, excluding Ishan Kishan, actively participated in the optional session. Notably, pacer Jasprit Bumrah explored his spin skills, and coach Rahul Dravid played a dual role as a side-arm thrower in this intriguing session.
(With Inputs From PTI)