Shastri, who was the India team director in 2014, suggested that Kohli stand outside his crease while batting, after a dismal tour to England that year, a tweak which gave Kohli ‘unbelievable’ results. However, ahead of the 2018 tour to England, the current India captain was “practising something different” when Shastri reminded him to stand outside the crease.
As it turned out, Kohli started off with a half-century in the tour game against Essex before accumulating 593 runs at 59.30 in the five-Test series, with two centuries – a complete turnaround from his nightmarish outing on the 2014 tour.
“His understanding was very sharp,” Kohli said. “He told me something that I started practising afterwards which is standing outside the crease. He explained the mindset behind it – you should be in control of the space you are playing in and not give the bowler so many opportunities to get you out.
“So many dismissals get taken out when you are standing outside the crease. You can really understand the position that you are in and you are more in control. So I started practising that in Australia afterwards, in the same year and the results were unbelievable.
“Ravi bhai also asked me one thing before he wanted me to stand outside [the crease]. He said, ‘Are you scared of the short ball?’ I said, ‘Not at all. I don’t mind getting hurt but I don’t want to get out.’ So he said, ‘Fair enough then, stand outside the crease.’
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“Actually before the 2018 England tour as well, I was practising something different and in the first net session we had before the tour game, he asked me again, ‘Why are you not standing outside the crease? Why have you forgotten?’ Then I remembered, I totally forgot that it was all to do with playing in the most difficult conditions and to be able to play with control there.
“So, I went back to the nets, did about 40 minutes of standing outside the crease and it was chalk and cheese. I was so much more in control and then the tour game also I played with absolute control and from thereon through the series, it obviously helped me a lot.”