Virat Kohli says that Indian batsmen's issues are 'mental' rather than technical

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Virat Kohli has urged fans not to judge his batting unit just yet.

Virat Kohli refuses to believe his fellow India batsmen cannot follow his lead and put England under pressure in the second Test at Lord’s.

Kohli was a lone hand in the tourists’ 31-run defeat at Edgbaston – where he made 200 runs, yet none of his team-mates could top 31 in either innings.

But he sees no reason to suspect India are collectively incapable of adapting to conditions which have in any case, despite a break in the heatwave this week, been more akin to Bangalore than Birmingham so far this summer.

Kohli does not suspect any technical issues against the moving ball.

“We should not judge so fast, and jump to conclusions,” he said. “As a team, we keep patience; we don’t judge so fast. We don’t see any pattern.”

Kohli is nonetheless calling on his team to exercise a little more caution at the start of their innings.

“As far as wickets falling in a heap is concerned, it is not about technique – it is more of a mental aspect,” he said.

“There must be a clear plan of how to face the first 20-30 balls, and more often than not that plan does not involve aggression. We need some composure.”

Kohli does not believe India's batsmen have a technical issue.

Kohli does not believe India’s batsmen have a technical issue.

Kohli has a new opposite number in the batting order, after England captain Joe Root confirmed 20-year-old Ollie Pope will make his debut at number four.

He wishes the youngster well, just not too well.

“It is going to be a big occasion for him,” said the world’s number-one Test batsman.

“I am happy for him – as a cricketer I understand how important it is. I will tell him to enjoy the occasion and not get too many runs.”

Both teams have retained the option of picking a second spinner on a pitch which may still start conspicuously green – depending whether it is cut again before start of play – but is thought to be baked dry underneath by months of un-English sunshine.

India are most likely to prefer wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav to his fellow left-armer Ravindra Jadeja, alongside Ravi Ashwin, if they do alter the balance of their attack.

Kohli said: “It could be a tempting thought, two spinners are definitely in contention.

“The pitch looked very hard, the surface very dry. It has been very hot in London for the last couple of months.

“There is good grass cover, (but) that is required basically to keep the wicket together – otherwise it would be very difficult to hold it together.”

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Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez reportedly considering international retirement after list demotion

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Hafeez could be about to call time on his international career.

Veteran Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez is contemplating retirement from international cricket if the latest reports are to be believed.

According to a report by Pakistan’s DawnNewsTV, the 37-year-old is miffed with the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision to demote him from Category A to B in the latest central-contracts list released this week.

The all-rounder has been a regular in the top category of PCB’s central contracts for some time now but he has found himself demoted to the second-tier with Babar Azam taking his place in Category A.

According to sources close to the player, Hafeez is disillusioned due to the ‘discriminatory treatment’ meted out to him.

“Mohammad Hafeez will not sign the central contract,” the source was quoted as saying by DawnNewsTV.

The source also revealed that the reason Hafeez did not play in the fifth and final ODI between Zimbabwe and Pakistan was in protest to not being picked in the preceding four matches.

Hafeez did not play in any of the five ODIs against Zimbabwe.

Hafeez did not play in any of the five ODIs against Zimbabwe.

Hafeez has played 50 Tests, 200 ODIs and 83 T20s for Pakistan so far in his long career after making his international debut in 2003.

He had only recently returned to the limited-overs side after being reported for a suspect bowling action for the third time in his career during an ODI against Sri Lanka last year.

After remodeling his action once again, the all-rounder was picked in the Pakistan ODI squad which recently blanked Zimbabwe by 5-0 but failed to get a single appearance.

In the latest central contracts announced by the PCB, skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Amir and Yasir Shah are the players included in the top-tier Category A.

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Live cricket blog: Virat Kohli defends his batting unit ahead of Lord's Test

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Catch the latest happenings in the world of cricket.

Hello, the Sport360 team is in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things cricket.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout your day and week but we want you to get involved too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

10:00pm – Mohammad Hafeez reportedly considering international retirement

The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) newly released central contracts for the calendar year have not gone down too well with veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez. The Pakistan man was demoted to Category B from A in the new list with Babar Azam moving up to the top tier. Now, reports in Pakistan suggest that Hafeez will not sign the new contract and instead take up international retirement.

Read more on this developing story here.

Hafeez could be about to call time on his international career.

Hafeez could be about to call time on his international career.

9:30pm – Virat Kohli defends his batting unit ahead of Lord’s Test

India’s batting lineup has come under fire after their shambolic performance in the first Test against England. Skipper Virat Kohli raged a lone battle with the bat for the visitors as they ended up losing the Test by 31 runs. Ahead of the second Test at Lord’s, Kohli has come out defending his batsmen.

Read what the India skipper had to say here.

Virat Kohli has urged fans not to judge his batting unit just yet.

Virat Kohli has urged fans not to judge his batting unit just yet.

9:00pm – Fine margins will decide second Test between England and India

With all the attention on the upcoming second Test between England and India at Lord’s, Sport360 takes a look at the key areas where the game could be decided.

India’s advantage in the spin department is one of the key areas they can flourish. Read more on where the battle could be ultimately decided here. Sport360’s Ajit Vijaykumar has also taken a look at the various spin combinations India could look to deploy. You can read that in-depth piece here.

Ashwin and Kuldeep are two of the spin options for India.

Ashwin and Kuldeep are two of the spin options for India.

7:00pm – England v India second Test tactical focus

As England and India get ready to lock horns in the second Test at Lord’s, Sport360’s Stuart Appleby has been looking at the tactical battle between skippers Joe Root and Virat Kohli. Read more on how the two premier batsmen will look to lead their respective sides at Lord’s here.

There are also many interesting statistics which Sport360 has compiled ahead of the Test. Among them is James Anderson being six wickets short of a century of wickets at Lord’s. To find out the other stats which will be in play, click here.

The two captains.

The two captains.

5:00pm – India bowling coach wants Hardik Pandya to bowl less overs

Ahead of the second Test between the two sides at Lord’s, India bowling coach Bharat Arun has said that all-rounder Hardik Pandya bowling less overs is a good thing for the side. The all-rounder bowled only 10 overs in the 31-run loss to England at Edgbaston and Arun feels that is a good sign for India.

Read the bowling coach’s quotes in full here.

Hardik Pandya had bowled only 10 overs in the Edgbaston Test.

Hardik Pandya had bowled only 10 overs in the Edgbaston Test.

4:30 pm – Ollie Pope to bat at number four

Batsman Ollie Pope will make his England debut batting in the number four position for the second Test against India at Lord’s.

The 20-year-old Surrey batsman replaces out of form Middlesex left-hander Dawid Malan.

Read what Joe Root had to say about Ollie Pope here.

Ollie Pope will bat at No4 on his England debut.

Ollie Pope will bat at No4 on his England debut.

4:15 pm – A look at the last five batsmen to debut for England

Haseeb Hameed (l) and Dawid Malan.

Haseeb Hameed (l) and Dawid Malan.

Batsman Ollie Pope will make his debut against India on Thursday. He is the latest in a fairly long list of youngsters tried out by England in the Test format.

But what about the other batsmen who have been given a go recently by the England management?

We take a closer look here.

3:30 pm – Clash of openers at Lord’s

Alastair Cook and Murali Vijay have not been at the fluent best of late and will need to lead the way when England and India face off at Lord’s.

With the batting line-up of both teams not exactly in the pink of health, the form of these two experienced openers will be critical to the fortunes of their teams.

That, and other key battles in our build-up to the second Test here.

12:30 pm – Lord’s can inspire India

A view of the Lord's Cricket Ground.

A view of the Lord’s Cricket Ground.

India are 1-0 down after the defeat in Birmingham and need some inspiration to level the five-Test series against England.

And our man Stuart Appleby believes the iconic venue of Lord’s might just be the place where Virat Kohli’s men find their rhythm.

Read the full piece here.

12:15 pm – Fawad Alam falls out of favour again

Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam.

Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam.

Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam has been unable to make it to the national team despite being one of the most prolific batsmen in the domestic circuit for nearly a decade.

And now the left-handed batsman has failed to land a central contract, meaning he is not among the best 33 players in the country.

More on that incredible bit of development here.

11:30 pm – A look at all England-India Tests at Lord’s

England have hosted India 17 times at the Lord’s ground over the years. And in those Tests, the hosts have prevailed 11 times with India winning just two.

There have been some memorable efforts from both England and India players at the London venue.

Denzil Pinto takes a look at all 17 matches. Read the exhaustive piece here.

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