Virat Kohli‘s quest for an international century continues. The India captain, who has gone without notching up a three-digit score for more than 18 months, had a chance to break the drought in the big final of the World Test Championship, but Kohli let the opportunity slip away.
Kohli scored 44 and 15, getting dismissed both times by New Zealand all-rounder Kyle Jamieson. While in the first innings, he was deceived by an in-dipper that trapped him out LBW, in the second, the India captain poked at a ball outside off, nicking it to the wicketkeeper.
Kohli’s failure came under a lot of criticism, but former India batsman Arun Lal has come to his defence saying it’s unfair to blame the India skipper alone since all Indian batsmen found it tough facing the Dukes ball in England. None of the batsmen from India could cross fifty in either inning, with Ajinkya Rahane’s 49 being the team’s highest individual score of the match. Lal pointed out that while there could be arguments that the stroke Kohli played to get out in the first innings was rash, but no one would have had any objection had it come off.
“We can’t really say it was a bad shot. Your foot is two feet away from the ball and you still hit it for a boundary, everyone then says it’s a classy shot. But if you miss a similar kind of ball and it takes the edge, people will then say, ‘No footwork, playing away from the body. Horrible shot’. That’s not the way you should deal with it. Besides, all our batsmen looked vulnerable against the Dukes ball. Why blame Virat alone?” Lal told the Telegraph.
Lal, who played 16 Tests and 13 ODIs for India, credited Kohli for playing well in the first innings, at a time when he had almost no match practice coming into the Test match, and besides, it was Jamieson’s splendid bowling and not the shot that led to Kohli’s dismissal.
“Virat made a mistake, and that happens. There’s so much pressure on him, while the ball was also moving a lot in such conditions. Prior to that, he was covering for the ball that came in as he was LBW last time. Now, if you are unlucky, you will nick it. Besides, that was a very good spell by (Kyle) Jamieson (in the second innings),” Lal pointed out.