Former India coach Ravi Shastri on Monday advised Virat Kohli that he must not drop the tempo of his innings after getting a start as his consistent ‘bat-deep’ approach triggered a debate if such batting style is suited for T20 cricket.
Kohli’s approach was questioned after he made 55 off 46 balls in a losing cause against Delhi Capitals at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday night.
It was his sixth fifty-plus score of the season, but the pace of his innings probably cost the team another 20 runs.
Asked if the under-performing RCB middle-order is forcing Kohli to play deep, Shastri told ESPNcricinfo that the Indian superstar doesn’t need to worry about the form of other batters.
“Once you gain tempo, don’t change, don’t worry about the others. That will be my message to Virat. Let them do their job. In a T20 game, you don’t need that many batsmen. If you are hot keep that going. Prime example of that was Phil Salt. You saw the way he batted. Once he got into the groove he didn’t let go.
“It took the pressure off the other batsmen. Having said, even they were hammering whether it was Marsh or Roussow. So that is something that could be there from Virat’s point of view. If he gets going don’t change your tempo, try and up the ante,” said Shastri referring to Phil Salt’s match-winning 87 off 45 balls for Delhi.
Former Australia cricketer Tom Moody feel with the introduction of ‘impact player’, the game has really moved on from that style (bat deep) of cricket.
“That’s why we are seeing so many totals go to 200+. There is no such role. We all need to be going here at 150+ without a doubt because we have the comfort of depth,” Moody, former Sunrisers Hyderabad coach, said.
Kohli, after his 44-ball 61 against Lucknow Super Giants, had defended his batting style, saying playing the anchor role was important.
“There are many people who because they have not been in that situation themselves, they look at the game differently.
“Suddenly, when the powerplay is done, they will be like ‘oh, they have started rotating the strike’. When you haven’t lost a wicket in the powerplay, usually the best player comes on to bowl, you are trying to figure out what to do against him in the first two overs, so that you can get big ones in the last two overs of that guy and then rest of the innings become much easier,” he had said.
Talking about India and Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma, Shastri said the lack of runs is also having an impact on his captaincy.
Rohit has managed just 184 runs in 10 innings so far.
“If you start getting a purple patch where you are scoring runs, the job as a captain becomes much easier, the body language on the field changes, that energy on the field is different as opposed to when you are not getting runs. You can go flat no matter who you are,” Shastri said.
“That’s where, as a captain, it is more important that your performances come into play. It is harder now because of the stage of his career, the kind of team that they have.
“The same team could be a terrific team in a year’s time or two years’ time, once they start gelling together. But to get that right mix, that’s the job of the captain.”
The former India head coach said that Rohit’s challenges as a leader might have doubled considering a weaker team at his disposal compared to the champion Mumbai outfits of the past.
“The resources that you had two or three years ago isn’t quite the same. The challenges as a captain might have doubled for him. The work as a captain would have doubled as opposed to two years ago when everything was nice, set – go out there and do the job,” he added.