In addition to provoking a debate over turning tracks, the ongoing series between India and England has also exposed the lack of skills while batting on spin-friendly pitches. India captain Virat Kohli admitted that the increasing emphasis on short-form cricket has compromised the defensive skills of batsmen.
“Defence is very important,” Kohli said on Wednesday. “From the pattern I’ve seen in Test cricket — take any match, if two batsmen are facing a 45-minute period of difficult bowling, are they able to score 10 runs and survive without offering any chances?
“Because of the influence of white-ball cricket, we’re getting results in Test cricket, but we also have this by-product that defence, which is also a part of the game, is getting compromised. This is why people say, score 300-350 quickly. I don’t think they focus on that grind of four or five sessions these days, probably because they don’t focus on defence so much, because they’re needing to switch formats, and the game is very fast-paced.”
Kohli reiterated the requirement of a strong defensive technique for batsmen to succeed on dust-bowls.
“There is a requirement for skill in playing on spinning tracks, and not necessarily just playing the sweep. You find your own method, and from my point of view, my best solution is a defensive shot, where I know I can defend and the ball won’t go to silly-point or short-leg, and that’s an aspect of the game that’s fallen behind.”
The third Test of the series lasted a little over five sessions and turned out to be the shortest Test in terms of balls since World War II. It has led to several fans venting their ire for being robbed of witnessing a contest at the newly built stadium.
Kohli didn’t answer a direct query on whether teams are robbing fans of quality Test cricket in a bid to make the most of home advantage. “It would be lovely if you asked us this question on an England/New Zealand/Australia tour,” he said. “Not when you’ve seen two turning pitches in India, so that question for me is irrelevant at this point of time.”