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How Sachin Tendulkar helped a struggling Virat Kohli after dismal 2014 England tour

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Virat Kohli, while in conversation with Mayank Agarwal on bcci.tv, has opened up on the struggles he faced during the 2014 England tour and how Sachin Tendulkar helped him overcome them.

Kohli struggled against out-swinging deliveries during the five-Test series and scored only 134 runs in 10 innings with a high score of 39. The current India captain pointed out that his hip position was an issue on the tour and he was “too worried” about the deliveries coming into him that he was giving away wickets on the ball that swung away.

“My hip position was an issue on that England tour,” Kohli said. “It was a thing of not adjusting to the conditions and wanting to do what I wanted to and being rigid about it. So, I think being rigid about it doesn’t get you anywhere and I realised that pretty quickly. It was a long and painful realisation but I realised it.

“The one thing that stood out was my right hip. When our right hip opens as a batsman, or closes too much as a batsman, we know we are in trouble. So keeping that hip position nice and side on and balance in a way that you can play through the off-side and through the leg-side with equal control is very, very important. So, I think that is one thing that went off.

“Basically I was too worried about the ball that might come in and that is why I was opening up too early and then the ball that was going away was getting me every time. So, I just couldn’t get past that confusion. When I came back, I saw the footage, I saw what was happening wrong. Even my stride to the ball wasn’t as confident as it should have been – the forward press. And I just relied on my hands a lot, which I think in this day and age the bowlers find you out pretty quickly and they start targeting the areas that you are uncomfortable with.”

He then revealed how a few sessions with Sachin Tendulkar helped him realise the importance of “the big stride” forward, even against fast bowlers, which eventually helped him hammer 692 runs at 86.50 in the four-Test series against Australia later that year.

“I came back [and] I spoke to Sachin paaji [Tendulkar] as well in Mumbai,” he said. “I did a few sessions with him. So, I told him I’m working on my hip position but he made me realise the importance of the big stride, the forward press against fast bowlers as well. So the moment I started doing that with my hip alignment, things started ironing out pretty nicely for me and then I became more and more confident with following that pattern and eventually that Australia tour [2014/15] happened.”

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