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New Delhi: Virat Kohli has not been able to score fluently in the IPL this season and it is a matter of concern that he is getting out to different types of bowlers, observed former West Indies pacer Ian Bishop.

Kohli has managed just 175 runs with a top score of 58 at a strike rate of just 111.09, which is the third lowest among batters with at least 150 runs this season. On Wednesday, Kohli was cleaned up by Mooen Ali after a laboured 30 off 33 balls and Bishop said he is concerned about Kohli’s struggles against spin, especially off-spin.

“For a while, for 10 or 15 runs, he wasn’t even going at a run-a-ball, or he was just going at a run-a-ball,” Bishop said. “He didn’t get ahead, and there wasn’t much intent. He hit one (six) over extra-cover off the seamer, and that was when he just went ahead to a run-a-ball and then he came back.

“This is something we’ve been seeing with Virat, not just this season. Even last season, I remember, and even sometimes internationally, he’ll fly out – he didn’t fly out tonight – and then he’ll slow down again. So, I’m concerned.”

Overall, Kohli played 16 dot balls against Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday. “If you’re not getting ahead of the rate and going at a run-a-ball, you need to bat deep into the innings,” he said. “And he isn’t going deep into the innings either. So those deliveries don’t come back to you. Even if RCB won, that wasn’t an innings, even given the difficulties of the pitch, that you could say caused a match-winning total.”

Pointing out Kohli’s struggles against spinners, Bishop said: “Roston Chase got him out in the West Indies series (at home in February), we saw him getting out to the off-spinner in Test matches. So, I’m concerned about … and I’m a Kohli fan. I tune in to watch cricket when Kohli’s at his best, so it isn’t criticism but an observation that I am concerned that a number of types of bowlers are getting him out and he’s not getting ahead of the rate.”

Kohli was out to a Ali delivery that was tossed up outside the off stump and turned past the inside edge to disturb his woods. Making his observations, former New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori said: “I can think of the likes of a R Ashwin or a Harbhajan (Singh) bowling really quickly to him in the powerplay and him just looking for singles, and potentially not dominating them. But this is different.

“This is Moeen Ali trying to spin the ball, wide of off stump and I feel like I can see that dismissal a few times in Test matches. And that is a huge amount of credit to Moeen Ali and his style of bowling – the fact that he was able to hit those areas with a little bit of drift, then that quick spin. So, this type of bowling seems to have troubled him (Kohli) a little bit as of now,” he added.

 


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Author: Howard Caldwell