Anxious fans waited in anticipation as Virat Kohli tapped his bat in the 42nd over of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 against Bangladesh at the MCA Stadium in Pune. They waited for a climax of what has been a cinematic brilliance and their hero didn't disappoint them as he stepped out of the crease smashing Nasum Ahmed's delivery over long on for a maximum and completing his 48th ODI century. His first ICC Cricket World Cup century since 2015. A long, painful wait finally came to an end and it also made everyone look back at the little period after the COVID-19 break when runs actually dried up for him and Virat Kohli, the modern great, struggled for runs like a fish out of waters. From there, the iconic unbeaten 82 in Melbourne during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2022 and then back-to-back match winning knock in ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. Virat made one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the game possible and as Kohli celebrates his 35th birthday we take a look at the technical changes he made to make the comeback possible. Happy Birthday Virat Kohli! Fans Wish Indian Cricket Team Star As He Turns 35.

What Were the Technical Problems Faced By Virat Kohli?

Post the COVID-19 lockdown, Virat Kohli found himself fighting with a multiple of technical struggles. Earlier, he changed his stance to more side-on to tackle the problems he had in England playing balls outside off stump. He closed himself off a touch and got his back hip in line, backing his hand speed and ability to pick up length early, to compensate. In an interview, he mentioned that how his front toe now pointed towards point and not towards cover.  But after returning to action from the lockdown break, he maintained a relatively narrow, quite open stance at the crease. His back shoulder and back hip were generally visible, as was plenty of bat, and while it opened up the leg-side for those glorious clips through mid-wicket, it brought back his struggles for balls outside off-stump.

Virat Kohli's Batting Stance Every Year

His biggest struggle came during attacking spin bowling. His footwork was no where near his best and the front foot came across the line all the time, getting himself in a position where he was troubled by off-spin and googlies and found it difficult to play big hits against spin. His backlift also changed, with the bat pointing towards gully more despite the hand staying low. With a combination of all, despite looking in good touch, Virat was struggling to make the scores big and found new ways to get dismissed.

Shoaib Malik Explaining Virat Kohli's Trouble Against Spin

What Changes Made Virat Kohli's Comeback Possible?

After having an idea of all these problems, Virat addressed all of them. The open stance came naturally to him from his initial years, so he retained it but now he has stopped getting his front foot across and rather he gets it forward with a leg middle guard, freeing up his hands. This has also opened up his scoring options against spin by better footwork coming down the pitch. The front-foot-press trigger movement is still there, but he has mixed it up with back and across movement as well based on the nature of the pitch. By using a bat-tap method instead of a pre-loaded backlift, he has judged length much better and the rest has been trusting his extremely malleable wrists, bat speed and ability to react quicker. He goes back to a pre-loaded backlift when he is well set and lining up the bowlers for a big shot.

Virat Kohli Brought Back His Bat Tap Method

Another change that he brought in his technical setup was to shake off passivity in the crease.  His former coach at RCB, Sanjay Bangar said that the coaching staff set up a field for Kohli to get out of his comfort zone and play some back-foot and sweep shots in the preparatory camp. “From the visuals that I have seen, it is very clear that Virat Kohli is targeting the mid-wicket region. We saw him play some big shots and sweep. Everybody knows that Kohli doesn’t play the sweep shot very often, so the field is set accordingly. He also played a lot of back-foot shots, using the depth of the crease,” Bangar said on Star Sports. Virat Kohli Birthday Special: 5 Times When King Kohli's 'Spirit of Cricket' Won Hearts of Fans.

Technical problems are such, it can push a batter in a phase of uncertainty in no time. However big his stature, after some failures, doubts start to creep in and the confidence goes down. It gets worse with bad decision making. Technique in cricket is an open concept based on trial-and-error method. To the pleasure of his well-wishers and fans, Virat has found the right one at the right time and now he has resumed his journey to extend his legacy of greatness.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 05, 2023 07:00 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website