Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli is undoubtedly the best batsman in the world at the moment and is also one of the better players of spin bowling in India. But time and time again, we have seen Kohli struggling against spin bowling and especially leg-spinners.
In the ongoing ODIs against Australia, leggie Adam Zampa has dismissed Kohli twice and earlier in the T20Is he got the 30-year-old once. In Ranchi, Zampa dismissed Kohli on 123 and that was the turning point in the match as Australia won the same to claw back in the five-match series.
After the match, Zampa was asked about Kohli and whether the Indian star has become his bunny. Zampa played it down and said, “Virat is a serious player, it was good to take his wicket when we did. I don’t think he’s my bunny, he’s one of the hardest players to bowl to. I was under a bit of pressure, if he had hit a couple of more boundaries, the momentum would have shifted towards them.”
Kohli’s trend against the spinners hasn’t been something laudable in recent times. Last season in the ODIs against England, Adil Rashid got the player twice. And then Moeen Ali too dismissed him once. Credit must be given to Rashid for bowling cleverly against the Indian batsman.
Notably, in the third ODI, Rashid got Kohli with a beauty. The ball pitched around middle and leg stump and then took a sharp turn beating Kohli’s outside edge as the ball clipped the top of the off-stump and then nestled into Jos Buttler’s glove.
In the third ODI against Australia, Zampa’s googly got the better of Kohli. It was full on middle, and spinning into Kohli. He tried to whip the one off his toes to mid-wicket, but the ball went under his bat, and clipped the leg stump. What the spinners have done with time is mix things up and been confident.
Zampa was smashed for two successive fours prior to him dismissing Kohli. That’s where the confidence came into play. Back in IPL 2018 edition, Kohli was dismissed 8 times by spinners out of the 14 innings that he played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. This is an interesting trend to follow.
Teams will target Kohli in ODIs with quality spin bowling during the ICC World Cup 2019. They will feel that there is an outside chance of getting the legend if the ball is pitched on the right areas. Rashid Khan is another bowler, who will fancy his chances against Kohli. The Afghan sensation has had success against Kohli in the IPL.
Looking at Kohli’s dismissals against spin, it has got to be the googly that is causing issues. Rashid, Khan and Zampa have all tried this delivery and it has worked for them. Kohli will need to work his way through. Intense preparation and using the feet well can serve him better.
It remains to be seen how the likes of Zampa and Nathan Lyon goes against Kohli next. It will be a great battle to watch nonetheless.