While the India captain gives the utmost freedom to his bowlers, he demands that the final ball of an over doesn’t go for runs as it helps maintain pressure on the opposition.
“This is a very good thing about Virat bhai [Kohli] that if he has a suggestion and wants me to change something, he’ll always listen to what I have to say about it as well,” Kuldeep said. “So if I tell him, ‘No Virat bhai, I think this is better, let’s try it for another couple of deliveries,’ he would agree to it. He generally leaves it to the bowler, and doesn’t force unnecessary changes.
“But one thing that he always tells us is to not concede a boundary on the last delivery of the over. That has always been a concern for him. Even now, after the first five balls of the over, he asks us to bowl a tight line and not concede runs. This is a very good thing, that he thinks about the team, and not just the bowler at that time, because if the last ball is a dot, it helps us maintain pressure.”
If the bowlers do end up getting hit on the last ball, as Kuldeep revealed, Kohli would make it a point not to say anything about it immediately. “There have been times when I conceded runs off the final ball of the over, and he gives me a stare,” he said. “But you’re aware that it is because you haven’t been able to deliver what the captain wanted at that point, and you even feel bad.
“It’s happened a few times that even if I’m not going in to pick a wicket and end up conceding a six off the last ball, he would say after the match that I was trying to steal a wicket there and we share a laugh. He is well-aware of his bowlers’ approach, so he never says these things on the ground, during the match – he is very supportive and backs his bowlers at the time, and that according to me is the best thing about captain Kohli.”