Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said he doubts whether Virat Kohli is as mentally fresh as he was in 2018 to tackle the ever-persistent threat from England fast bowlers, especially James Anderson.

Sanjay Manjrekar doubts Virat Kohli

Manjrekar said the India captain has an obvious weakness, unlike other great batsmen of the past and England has exploited that once again in the ongoing Test series.

Virat Kohli headed to England on the back of a lean patch in international cricket. The India captain, who has 70 hundred against his name, was struggling to get the big scores that he had churned out day in and day out a couple of years ago. Kohli averages less than 25 in 10 Tests since 2020 and the skipper has gone without a 3-figure score in 50 innings.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

After the stunning Lord’s win, India had an opportunity to pile up pressure on England as they won the toss and opted to bat in the 3rd Test at Headingley. However, India’s top-order collapsed with captain Kohli getting out for 7. He fell to his nemesis James Anderson while driving a full-length delivery.

Kohli’s form in 2021 in England has been a stark contrast to his exploits in 2018. The India captain overcame the horrors of 2014 to hit 593 runs, including 2 hundred in 5 Tests. However, this year, Kohli has managed only 69 runs in 5 innings so far.

“Unlike so many greats of his league, he (Kohli) has got a very obvious weakness. All the greats, the Sachin Tendulkars, the Gavaskar’s, and the Viv Richards, didn’t have one obvious weakness. Every time that gets exploited, Virat Kohli gets found out,” Manjrekar told Sony Sports after India were bundled out for 78 on Day 1 of the Headingley Test.

“It’s not that he is getting out in different ways as Ajinkya Rahane does. I am sure it’s starting to bother him.

“The reason he got those runs in 2018 was not that he was cover-driving beautifully or pulling it superbly like he was in Australia against Mitchell Johnson. It was all about leaving the ball, which was about doing something he was not accustomed to. It requires a lot of mental effort.

“I am just starting to feel that maybe the mental reserves that he has is he as fresh mentally as he was in 2018 with that big challenge of seeing James Anderson through and leaving balls after balls? He is not leaving as many balls this time,” Manjrekar added.

Credit to Anderson for working out Kohli again: Agarkar

Meanwhile, former India pacer Ajit Agarkar said James Anderson deserves a lot of credit for working out a way to get Virat Kohli out again after not managing to do so even once during the 2018 Test series.

Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar

“I am going to stand here for the bowler. The way James Anderson has bowled to him has been brilliant. Even during the 2018 tour when he had success against Anderson, everything was going away from him. In this series, you have seen him bowl something coming back into him or a lot straighter with wobbly seam, pitches, and then straightens.

“You have got to give credit to him. He has worked out away. He has worked out because he knows Kohli is likely to leave anything that is going away from him. He has bowled differently to him and found success against Kohli,” Agarkar said.

England took a 42-run lead at stumps on Day 1 of the 3rd Test as they dominated India both with the bat and the ball.