Kohli has hit 54 international centuries and following his match-winning ton in the opening one-dayer against South Africa has now reached three figures in ODIs in all nine Test playing nations. The one country not on that list is Pakistan; a venue missing from the itineraries of many countries because of security concerns and in India’s case, political tensions as well.
“Kohli is a fantastic player but our team will make it hard (for him) to score a century there (Pakistan),” Arthur was quoted as saying by the Pakistan Observer.
“It has been a great pleasure to watch Kohli scoring against all teams and it is always enjoyable to watch his batting. However, our bowlers will not make it easy for him to score there,” Arthur added.
Arthur’s statements make for interesting reading because Kohli recently hit a fine 153 against a menacing South African pace attack in the Centurion Test and followed that up with 95 runs in the third Test on a Jo’burg wicket that was nearly declared unfit for competitive cricket. He followed that up with innings of 112 and 46 not out in the first two ODIs.
Kohli has scored 459 runs from 12 ODIs against Pakistan with two centuries and one fifty at an average of 45.9.
India off-spinner Ravi Ashwin is no longer the first choice slow bowler in limited overs cricket. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav have overtaken the premier Test spinner in white ball cricket. With wrist spin the preferred choice not only for Virat Kohli but limited overs captains across the globe, finger spinners are finding themselves restricted to the five-day format.
However, Ashwin seems to have found a way out of his predicament – by abandoning off-spin and embracing leg-spin wholeheartedly in white ball cricket. One of the finest off-spinners produced by India has started to bowl proper leg spin in domestic cricket after trying it out during training for a couple of seasons. And it’s not just one variation; it’s the whole shebang.
Ashwin tried out his leg spin variations during a domestic one-day match while playing for his state Tamil Nadu against Gujarat. He finished with 2-38 from 9.1 overs as his team won by 76 runs. After the match, Ashwin said he will bowl leg-spin in the IPL as well.
“This is part of my plan going into the IPL,” Ashwin said.
“I am just trying to build my armoury. I used to bowl good leg-breaks with my off-spin action when I was playing league cricket in Chennai. Over a period of time, in a search to get my stock ball right, I obviously had to cut out a lot of those things. I had possessed a lot more variations. Having bowled off-break as the stock ball for almost 10 years, trying to change things around is challenging.
“As of now everything is cooked by me. I try to take feedback from our coaches in my academy. First time I was bowling leg spin, we were working on some actions on how to gain momentum. How I can make a repeatable action work for me. For example, my arm doesn’t go 45 degrees which is perfect for a leg-spinner. I am more upright. I have to adjust my action. It has been a painful ride. One day it will come out well in the nets, and the next day it won’t come out all right. It will be frustrating.”
If Ashwin does master the art of leg-spin, he might just make his way back into a blue jersey. Off-spinners of the world, are you listening?
Delhi batsman and former India Under-19 World Cup winning captain Unmukt Chand came up with one of the bravest efforts by a cricketer in recent memory as he scored a century in a domestic tournament in India while batting with a broken jaw.
In scenes reminiscent of the Antigua Test of 2002 when spin legend Anil Kumble bowled with a broken jaw and even managed to get the wicket of Brian Lara, Chand decided to bat even though he had broken his jaw in the nets.
The opening batsman smashed 116 off 125 deliveries with 12 hits to the fence and three over it during Delhi’s match against Uttar Pradesh in a 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy match. His ton helped Delhi make 307-6 and set the stage for a 55-run victory.
Chand bandaged his face in order to bat with minimal jaw movement, just like Kumble did while bowling in Antigua after his jaw was broken by a Mervyn Dillon bouncer.