India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has heaped praise on Virat Kohli’s batsmanship during the recently concluded Test series against England, saying that the Indian captain put the team at ease every time he went out to bat.
Kohli finished the England Test series as the highest run-getter from either side. He waged a lone battle in the first Test at Edgbaston, scoring a magnificent 149 in the first innings and followed it with a flawless 51 in the second dig.
Virat notched up his 23rd Test century during the third Test at Trent Bridge to help India register a thumping 203-run victory over England. Although India conceded the five-match Test series 1-4, Kohli ended up amassing 593 runs in 10 innings and proved his mettle as one of the greatest modern batsmen across all conditions.
"When Virat walked out to bat every time against England, I just felt that an incredible man was walking out to bat every single time because the ball was doing a lot, there was a lot of seam movement and every time he went and first ball he just defended and the dressing room just felt ease. That doesn't happen just overnight, it's has been a conscious effort," Ashwin told India Today.
He explained the process in detail that has led to Kohli’s prolific run-scoring in international cricket.
"Over the three-four years that I have seen Virat very closely, he makes one point very often. Somehow in the past I use to overlook the point but now I feel that's what gives him success. Like you asked how do you handle pressure. We need to find the frequency of what we did when we were successful. It's a very deep statement to make but I have been analysing it for a while and I just find it very fascinating,” Ashwin asserted.
"He's talking about the mental space he finds himself in, it could be through music, it could be through the way he tunes himself or could be through the way he's sitting in the dressing room and watching the game and I feel he has successfully captured the part of this playing the sport and batting. That he is able to achieve this level of excellency when he walks out to bat. He's in complete control of his office.
"As business leaders say most of the hard work is done in the office and only the success comes out in paper. So I think, most of his success is within his office when he's batting inside the crease and in the nets where he has mastered the frequency day in and day out to say that nets or match I can just translate this frequency with ease," he elaborated.
There were plenty of hopes from Team India as they embarked on their England tour after winning 9 of their last 10 Test series. However, the No. 1 ranked Test side couldn’t live up to the expectations.
While India lost the first Test at Edgbaston by a close margin of 31 runs, they suffered a humiliating innings and 159 runs defeat in the second Test at Lord’s. India bounced back emphatically to win the third Test at Trent Bridge but in the penultimate Test, Kohli and his men let go the early advantage and eventually coped a 60-run loss. India lost the fifth and final Test at The Oval by 118 runs.
Reflecting on the Test series defeat, Ashwin said: "When we started the series in England we believed we had a good chance. Like most people have been saying that the scoreline doesn't dictate the way we played. As a cricketer I would like to say we did play some good cricket. But it was a great opportunity that we couldn't take with both hands.”
"Clearly what differentiates the home team and away team is that you should be able to match the home team in every department. I myself let down the team by getting out on that third evening in Southampton. Those are the kind of moments that we could have capitalised but we couldn't. So England was an opportunity missed," he concluded.