Indian Commentators Quite Harsh On Virat Kohli, Ben Stokes’s Ball Was Unplayable, Says Graeme Swann


Graeme Swann, the former England spinner said he feels Indian commentators are a bit too harsh when it comes to their assessment of Virat Kohli’s batting. Graeme Swann’s take came after an ‘unplayable’ Ben Stokes delivery got the former captain out for 20 on Day 3 of the rescheduled 5th Test.

Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann jumped to the defense of Virat Kohli after the former India captain was dismissed for 20 in India’s 2nd innings on Day 3 of the rescheduled Test against England in Birmingham.

Virat Kohli walks off the ground after losing his wicket on Day 3 of the 5th Test.
Virat Kohli walks off the ground after losing his wicket on Day 3 of the 5th Test. (Courtesy: AP)

Graeme Swann: Ben Stokes Delivery That Got Rid Of Virat Kohli Was Unplayable

Graeme Swann said Ben Stokes’s delivery that got Virat Kohli out could have been unplayable to any batter from any era and it is not fair to point fingers at the star batter for not managing to convert his start into a big knock once again. The former India captain is going through the roughest patch of his career where everything including his form and luck is not favouring him at all. He scored 11 in the 1st innings.

Virat Kohli was looking assured in the middle during his steady stand with opener Cheteshwar Pujara before getting out for 20, as he hit a few of his trademark drives. However, in the 30th over of the Indian innings, the right-hander was caught at first slip by ex-England skipper Joe Root after a length delivery kicked off and hit the outside edge of the top part of his blade.

Virat Kohli was playing the delivery of the front foot but the extra bounce did him in. It was a difficult take behind the stumps as wicketkeeper Sam Billings fluffed it only for the deflection to be caught by Joe Root. Graeme Swann said he feels Indian commentators are quite harsh on Virat Kohli at times.

“You can say what you want, I don’t care, who is batting in any period of Test history if you can survive that delivery you are very, very lucky. That is unplayable. It’s a lucky catch in the end,” Swann said.

Graeme Swann © Getty Images
Graeme Swann © Getty Images

“Regardless, if you are looking to get on the front foot, back foot that ball is a ripsnorter. For an English point of view, I often find that whenever Indian commentators talk about Virat, I always think ‘wow they are quite harsh on him’. The standards are so high for Virat, I thought he was very at ease today,” he added.

Defending Virat Kohli’s decision to lunge forward in English conditions, Graeme Swann said the India batter isn’t expecting short deliveries from the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

“Yes, he is looking to get forward, but he knows that the England bowlers, Broad and Anderson, are looking to pitch it up. Jimmy won’t waste his time bowling many short ones to Virat. I think it was clever batting,” Swann added.

Virat Kohli started off positively, smashing three boundaries inside the first ten balls he faced. However, he slowed down thereafter, with the Englishmen piling on the pressure with dot balls. Virat Kohli seemed in great touch with his willow, scoring 20 runs off 40 balls with four boundaries before he was stunned by an unplayable delivery from England skipper Ben Stokes.

It was a good length delivery that extracted some extra bounce on the surface and made it unplayable for the former Indian skipper, who lunged forward to defend but the ball popped his glove, and Joe Root, positioned at first slip, grabbed it within seconds after keeper Sam Billings dropped it.

Saba Karim: Virat Kohli’s Proclivity To Go To The Front Foot Working Against Him

The former England spinner was responding to former India wicketkeeper Saba Karim, who was highlighting how Virat Kohli’s ‘proclivity’ to go onto the front foot is working against him, at times.

“He looked in fine touch today, far more comfortable than what we have seen him in recent past. But I felt there was a certain proclivity in his decision to play off the front foot all the time. When you push yourself to get onto the front foot, there might be an oddball with extra bounce that can get you out. But there might be an odd-ball that can get you out,” Saba Karim said.

Saba Karim. – File photo of former wicketkeeper - The Hindu
Saba Karim. – File photo of former wicketkeeper – The Hindu

Virat Kohli managed just 31 runs across 2 innings in the rescheduled Test as his lean patch continued. The former skipper was expected to make bigger contributions after having impressed in the tour game against Leicestershire.


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