WTC 2023 Final: “If he had been on the backfoot…,” Gavaskar dissects Virat Kohli's dismissal in first innings

Many experts called Starc's delivery to Kohli unplayable but Gavaskar feels otherwise.

Virat Kohli | GettyVirat Kohli’s dismissal was one of the biggest talking points from the second day’s play in the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and Australia at The Oval.

The star India batter looked in total control for his 14 runs before a bouncing short delivery from Mitchell Starc hit the shoulder of his bat and went into the hands of Steve Smith at second slip.

While many experts called Starc's delivery to Kohli unplayable, Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar feels otherwise.

According to Gavaskar, Virat would have been able to handle the surprise bouncer from Starc better had he been willing to play on the backfoot.

"Off the backfoot," Gavaskar told Star Sports when he was asked how could a batter deal with that delivery from Starc.

"You could have a look again, today because of the fact that there are only two bouncers per over, most batters are onto the front foot. This means they are not able to get onto the backfoot and give themselves the extra yard where you could have probably let the ball go by dropping your wrists.

"Yes, it was a tough delivery because he was so committed to the front foot that he was not able to withdraw his bat at the last moment. If he had been on the backfoot.

"It looked like an unplayable ball, but if he had been on the backfoot, he would have been able to drop his wrists," he added.

Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara’s dismissal also hogged the headlines from the second day’s action. Both of them shouldered arms to deliveries that knocked their off stumps.

"Yes, they could have possibly not had their bats high up in the air. One of the essentials of batting in England is to play the ball as late as possible.

"So, it means, if you are looking to play the ball as late as possible, your bat is nearer to the ball, not up in the air. Because it was up in the air, they allowed the ball to go through. With the bat up in the air, they were not able to bring it down when the ball nipped in," Gavaskar remarked.

In reply to Australia’s first innings total of 469, India were reduced to 71/4 with Rohit Sharma (15), Gill (13), Pujara (14) and Kohli getting out cheaply.

Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja steadied the ship by adding 71 runs for the fifth wicket. While Jadeja was dismissed for 48, Rahane stayed unbeaten on 29 alongside KS Bharat (5*) to take India to 151/5 at stumps on Day 2, trailing Australia by 318 runs.


By Salman Anjum - 09 Jun, 2023

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