The five-match Test series in England in 2014 still remains as one of the toughest phases in Virat Kohli’s international career. He registered scores of 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0, 7, 6 and 20 in the five Tests. Ravi Shastri, who took over as India’s Team Director right after that disastrous tour, said Kohli was “in a state of shock” and “reeling.” The former all-rounder, who did not continue as India’s head coach after the 2021 T20 World Cup, said he knew “there was enough there” for Kohli to get back to his usual best.
“Once I came on board, my first challenge was to identify someone who could walk the talk and I found in Virat Kohli the guy with the character, game and personality to step into Dhoni’s shoes.
“Virat was reeling from that tour of England because he hardly got runs. He was in a state of shock the way things had turned out. But you could see there was still enough there to get him going. Once he was back on his feet, there would be no looking back,” Shastri said in an interview with The Times of India.
Shastri then described how Kohli slowly got his confidence back after he had worked out a few batting techniques.
“I began watching him very closely. The more closely I saw him, I could see his sense of confidence returning back with each day. Those initial two-three months went in getting to know the team better. We began talking a lot, on various issues – batting techniques, the path forward, lot of things,” he added.
Kohli back roaring back to form in the next Australia tour in 2014-15. The prolific right-hander, who was also named India’s Test captain in the middle of that four-match series, scored 692 runs at an average of 86.50 that included four hundreds.
“And I think, it really came to the surface in Australia, when he finally bought into everything we discussed. He was absolutely ready to walk that talk – not just in the way he played his game but the way we wanted the team to play,” Shastri said.
India lost that series 2-0 but Shastri felt the team had played some real good cricket with Kohli at the forefront of it all.
“He set the bar really high on that tour, got four centuries and a fifty. We lost that series 2-0 but I still remember Alan Border walking up to me at the end of the series in Sydney and said: “Rav, well done man. Not many teams bat out the last day to save Test matches at the colosseums, which is Melbourne and Sydney.
“And mind you, this after a close first Test in which he got a hundred in each innings and really cemented the way he wanted to play in Australia – a good, aggressive brand of cricket. The way we went for the chase of 360-plus on the final day of that Test showed what kind of cricket we wanted to play,” Shastri said.
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