Kohli did not participate in the lone three-day intra-squad practice game at Tuks Oval in Pretoria, having obtained prior permission to spend a four-day mini vacation with his family in the UK.On a Centurion pitch that exhibited considerable bounce, Kohli displayed good form, contributing 38 runs before Kagiso Rabada’s late away swinger caused him trouble. India concluded the rain-affected Day 1 at 208 for eight.
“The stage of his career Virat (Kohli) is, I don’t think he needs a lot of practice,” Rathour said after the end of opening day’s play of the first Test against South Africa in Centurion on Tuesday.
“He bats a lot and trains a lot. So, if he practiced a few days less, doesn’t matter much. We saw, how well he was playing. It didn’t seem he was away from red ball cricket for six months. It’s a good sign,” the former India opener said.
Rahul is our ‘Crisis Man’
Once again, KL Rahul has emerged as a standout performer amidst challenging circumstances, and Rathour couldn’t help but express admiration for the seasoned batsman.
“Rahul is turning out to be man of crisis for us. Every time, there are tough situations, he is the guy who handles it well for us. Nothing special, he was clear with his game plans, defended the right balls, attacked the right ones,” Rathour said.
Track was always going to be challenging
Rathour suggested that the overnight rain, drop in temperature, and the pitch being under covers for one-and-a-half days increased the level of difficulty for the batsmen.
“It was always going to be challenging. The weather was an issue. The wicket was under cover for a day or more than that. It was always going to be challenging as batting group. We would have loved to have couple of more wickets in hand. But we have done reasonably well,” he defended.
“Post lunch, Rabada bowled an exceptional spell. We have to try and add as many runs as possible but as we have seen historically, this wicket deteriorates,” he reasoned.
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South Africa also used the tactic of bowling on the ribs with a leg-slip in place, something that had given them a fair degree of success when the Indians came here in 2021-22.
“Not very often but in last series also there were 5-6 dismissals down leg side. At lunch, they bowled 65 balls down leg, if they bowled outside off, whether they would have got same success, that’s debatable,” Rathour said.
“Because of tennis ball like spongy bounce, it was a difficult delivery to control as you saw how (Shubman) Gill got out. I feel they used it as a tactic,” he added.
(With PTI Inputs)