May 19, 2020 / 8:06 AM / 8 days ago

Virat Kohli credits change in stance for versatility

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Virat Kohli’s wide range of shots makes him one of the most versatile batsmen of his era and the India captain says it was a tweak to his stance that brought him a deluge of runs in recent years.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup Semi Final - India Press Conference - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - July 8, 2019 India's Virat Kohli during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File photo

Kohli made his India debut in 2008 as a flashy batsman but has since combined compact technique with elegant shotmaking.

In a Facebook live chat with Bangladesh one-day captain Tamim Iqbal, he said ditching his earlier stance opened up scoring options for him.

“I changed because I wanted to score all over the ground. The static position was limiting my shotmaking options,” said the 31-year-old, who goes back-and-across in his current stance.

“It works for many, Sachin Tendulkar for instance. He had no issues because of his superior technique and hand-eye coordination.

“I had to tweak it to suit my game. When someone first told me it could open up my options, I thought of giving it a try.

“Luckily, it clicked and I immediately started executing shots which I never thought I could.”

Kohli averages 50-plus in all three formats, has smashed 70 international centuries and boasts an exquisite cover drive.

Among his contemporaries, Australian Steve Smith has an unorthodox but effective stance, standing open to the bowler and shuffling across the off-stump line, and Kohli said batsmen had to find out what worked for them.

“I always feel you should be open to changes ... You can’t stagnate, you have to keep learning,” he said.

“If you keep playing in the same manner, opposition will figure out your game. You have to be ahead of the game.

“So try it and drop it if it doesn’t work, but any batsman should be open to positive changes,” added Kohli.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford

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