England vs India | Indian commentators quite harsh on Virat Kohli, Ben Stokes’s ball unplayable: Graeme Swann

Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann jumped to the defence 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.

Swann said Ben Stokes’s delivery that got 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.

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

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 Root.

Speaking to Sony Sports on Sunday, Swann said he feels Indian commentators are quite harsh on 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.

“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 Kohli’s decision to lunge forward in English conditions, 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.


The former England spinner was responding to former India wicketkeeper Saba Karim, who was highlighting how 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.

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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