North Sound (Antigua): India’s Test captain Virat Kohli says he thinks like a batsman even when he is leading the side in the field and that mindset helps him place fielders accordingly.
A pertinent example of this working out a batsman was when Kraigg Brathwaite was batting on 70-plus in the first innings of the first Test which India won comprehensively.
The fact that the big hitting batsman was looking to play for time allowed the Indian skipper to optimise his fields, setting a tight leg-side cordon of five fielders within the circle, three of them in catching positions. With Umesh Yadav bowling short, the batsman was cramped for room and ended up edging a rising delivery instead of attempting to pull it.
“The one thing that I try to do is think as a batsman, which is very important. You can read a batsman’s body language and figure out where he is trying to score his runs. Unless a guy is playing shots all round the wicket, because then it is very difficult to set a field,” said Kohli.
“But if someone is predominantly looking to set up, get in and score his runs one side of the wicket or not play a particular stroke then you pick up these things and set a field accordingly to make him do that. It’s all about getting into the batsman’s head and creating that pressure to make him make that mistake,” he said further explaining his thinking about his field placements.
India’s victory over the West Indies by an innings and 92 runs in the first Test has finally also allowed them an iota of rest.
Since the onset of this tour, with Anil Kumble coming in as coach and the preparatory camp in Bangalore, then arriving in the Caribbean almost a fortnight before the first Test, it has been a consistent effort towards building up for the series, and the long home season thereafter.
In between, there have been sessions of fun and frolic, visits to the beach inclusive of snorkelling and horse riding, optional practice sessions, et al. Yet, it was all still with the baggage knowing that much work and planning was to be put to execution on the field. The big win in Antigua has now proven that this is a well-oiled machinery never mind the coaching regime change, and ready for the challenges ahead. As such, Monday was duly an off day for the entire squad, letting off any pent up steam remaining from the first Test.