Graeme Swann has lauded Indian skipper Virat Kohli‘s tactics while the spinners were bowling on Thursday. Swann analyzed how the close-in fielders put pressure on the English batters, and pointed out that the fielders in the deep didn’t allow any counterattacks.
Swann’s comments came in the backdrop of an unimposing batting performance by the visitors. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel (6-38) led the show and Ravichandran Ashwin (3-26) played second fiddle as India restricted Joe Root’s team to a paltry 112 in their first innings.
“Virat Kohli set very good fields. They had men in the outfield and also put a lot of pressure around the bat. They had deep men posted as well to tell England ‘if you are going to tee off, you will get caught in the deep’. It was very clever. It just stymied that run rate. England were going nowhere,” said Swann on Star Sports.
Besides his pinpoint field-placements, Virat Kohli’s bowling changes were also accurate on Wednesday. For instance, Axar Patel was brought on to bowl in just the 7th over, ahead of Ashwin, when the seamers were extracting substantial movement off the wicket.
Patel justified his captain’s faith. He took a wicket off his first ball and went on to record his 2nd five-wicket haul in Tests.
Despite shrugging off some criticism of his leadership skills in the recent days, Virat Kohli’s batting form has been nothing to write home about. In 2020, the 32-year-old failed to record even a single hundred, and 2021 has been no better till now.
In this series, Virat Kohli has looked fairly passive, and was out for just 11 in the first innings of the first Test. He looked at his near-best in the 2nd innings as he scored a fighting 72, but was undone by a ball that kept low.
Identical scenes unfolded in the 2nd Test as well. Virat Kohli recorded a duck in the first essay followed by a brilliant half-century in the second.
In the ongoing Test, he looked iffy for his 27 and failed to see off the crucial phase of play before stumps on Day 1. The Indian team and their fans will hope for their captain to end his hundred drought in the challenging 2nd innings.