Since the England tour, cricket bloggers and commentators have tried to understand what ails India’s vaunted batting line-up. Sriram Veera gives the best analysis I’ve seen of Virat Kohli, the latest member of the No. 6 club:
He was (is?) by his own admission a touch desperate to prove himself in Test cricket. “I probably started thinking too much about Test cricket, thinking it’s a huge, huge change. Maybe I shouldn’t have and should have been more relaxed. I should have taken all that (ODI) confidence into the first Test, and I should have gone in with the same approach…”
With Kohli, intent is key. The 50-over format provides him with that context, what to chase, a target to set, that helps him focus and fine-tune his game. The open-ended nature of Test cricket straitjackets him. Even in ODIs, it’s the chases he revels in more than batting first.
I’ve always had a difficult time understanding why great ODI batsmen have a tough time in Tests. There really shouldn’t be that big a problem adjusting to the change in format — David Warner and Virender Sehwag are examples — but I can see why the whole “bat without end” thing could be confusing.
What we see as spectators — scorecards, instant replays, pop analysis — is obviously different from the batsman’s reality in the middle, which revolves more around bowling spells, waiting for the new ball to age, judging the evolving character of the pitch, batting to the end of a session…Different ball game, as they say.