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‘Beshaq woh 1 lakh run bana ley…’: Malik on outrage for ‘teaching Virat Kohli’ | Cricket

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‘Beshaq woh 1 lakh run bana ley…’: Malik on outrage for ‘teaching Virat Kohli’ | Cricket


Virat Kohli is arguably the most complete batter in world cricket, so if you’re pointing out a ‘weakness’ or ‘vulnerability’ of his, you’ve got to be ready for the public’s reaction with full brute of a force. A few days ago, newspapers of a leading Hindi daily were burnt which carried a controversial Kohli article, which once again only reemphasises just how big and emotional Kohli’s fan base is. Shoaib Malik, the former Pakistan captain, learnt it the hard way. During a panel discussion, he was touching upon the topic ‘Kohli vs spin’, where Malik pointed out why the superstar India batter ‘struggles’ against spin. Malik was just doing his job as an analyst, but the sea of reactions and the never-ending trolling was something he perhaps did not see coming.

Shoaib Malik faced flak for his assessment of Virat Kohli's technique. (Screengrab/ANI)
Shoaib Malik faced flak for his assessment of Virat Kohli’s technique. (Screengrab/ANI)

During the highly-entertaining yet engaging and enlightening show ‘The Pavilion’ on A Sports, Malik, in the presence of legends of Pakistan crickets Wasim Akram and Misbah-ul-Haq, dissected Kohli’s batting and why he occasionally finds himself in a spot against spinners. Little did Malik know that he was about to face the wrath of Kohli’s legion of fans, who subjected him to endless trolling and roasting. During one of the post-match shows, when the topic was brought up again by a question, which stated: ‘Shoaib Malik, thank you for teaching Virat Kohli how to bat; now please teach acting to Amitabh Bachchan as well.” Malik initially reacted with a slight laughter before breaking his silence on the episode.

Duniya mein na koi batter aaya hai, na hi aayega jo kisi jagah pe phasta na ho. Beshaq woh 1 lakh run bana ley. (There is and hasn’t been a single batter in the world who doesn’t have a weakness, even if he scored 1 lakh runs). You guys didn’t get my point. All I said was that any batter, whose feet moves across, faces troubles facing spin. If you want examples, there are so many greats; you can ask anyone,” Malik said.

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“When your feet go across while facing the spinner, the moment the ball comes in, he/she will not find it easy. I didn’t say that he doesn’t know how to play. I said that he gets a little uncomfortable. That’s all. Had you seen the entire show, you would have known that I always praise him. He is one of the greats.”

What exactly did Malik say about Kohli?

Malik was demonstrating a class in playing spin. One of Pakistan’s greatest players of spin, Malik’s primary focus was to shed light on the reasons why Babar Azam and other Pakistan players often get themselves entangled in a spin web, be it against Kuldeep Yadav or Afghanistan’s Noor Ahmed. While discussing the correct approach to facing left-arm spinners and wrist-spinners, Malik stayed on point. However, his insights into the challenges posed by off-spinners revealed a deeper understanding of the batting issues faced by both Babar and Kohli.

“If we look at Babar Azam and Virat Kohli both, we can discern that their discomfort when facing off-spinners is the position of their feet. Specifically, when the front leg (left leg) of a right-handed batsman moves in a crosswise direction, off-spinners pose a significant challenge. Both Babar and Virat face this issue,” Malik had said.

“What sets them apart is that Babar’s vulnerability to this situation is limited to facing a select few spinners. In contrast, Virat encounters this challenge with almost every spinner he confronts. Virat, however, alleviates this pressure by frequently resorting to aggressive shot-making. If Babar can incorporate a similar approach and start playing more aggressively, he will be better off.”

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