Virat Kohli’s coach Rajkumar Sharma has said that the Indian skipper’s slightly underwhelming record against Tim Southee is surely an area of concern.
Tim Southee has dismissed Virat Kohli a record 10 times in international cricket, including thrice in the longest format of the game. The Kiwi pacer could be one of the biggest threats to the Indian batting lineup in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, especially after his six-wicket haul in the first innings of the Lord’s Test against England.
During a discussion on India News, Rajkumar Sharma pointed out that Virat Kohli has fallen prey to Southee in the past despite being fully aware of the mistakes he has committed against the right-arm pacer.
“It is not that Virat Kohli doesn’t know where he has made a mistake but despite that Southee has dismissed him ten times, so it is definitely a point of concern and I feel Virat will work on this and leave more balls outside the off-stump.”
The former first-class cricketer highlighted that Southee’s immaculate length makes him a difficult proposition to tackle.
“The nagging length which Southee bowls, you need to decide if you have to play or leave the ball. He is bowling very well and his ball is swinging nicely. He becomes unplayable if it is even a slightly helpful wicket.”
Virat Kohli averages an acceptable 36.33 against Tim Southee in Test cricket. The Indian skipper has scored 109 runs against the Blackcaps pacer for his three dismissals.
“Southee has been seen bowling with a very good strategy against Virat Kohli” – Rajkumar Sharma
While stating that Virat Kohli’s confrontation with Southee has been going on from their junior cricket days, Rajkumar Sharma pointed out that the swing bowler has formulated an excellent game plan against the Indian batting mainstay.
“This contest has been going on for a long time, from the under-19 days when they were playing together, Southee for New Zealand and Kohli for India. So, somewhere or the other Southee has been seen bowling with a very good strategy against Virat.”
The 55-year-old signed off by hoping that Virat Kohli exercises some caution while playing the cover drive against Southee.
“Because of that only he has dismissed him ten times. The cover drive is Virat’s favorite shot. So Virat will have to think about showing restraint while playing the cover drive because he has got out in the slips quite a few times while playing that shot.”
None of Virat Kohli’s three dismissals against Tim Southee in Test cricket have come while playing the cover drive. He has been trapped plumb in front by incoming deliveries on two occasions and fallen victim to a sharp bouncer once.