India vs NZ: Virat Kohli tunes up for return to team

5 days ago 12

MUMBAI: On a break since India’s disastrous campaign in the T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli tuned himself for his return to the international arena in the second Test against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium — which will be held from December 3 to 7 — with a four-day ‘camp’ in the Brabourne Stadium at the historic Cricket Club of India (CCI).
India’s ODI and Test captain, who missed the T20I series and the first Test at Kanpur against New Zealand after taking a break from the bio-bubble, trained for four days -- on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday early morning, between 7 am to 9 am.
TOI understands that Kohli, who now lives in Mumbai, requested the BCCI to arrange practice for him at CCI to help him prepare for the Test. The BCCI, in turn, requested CCI, who readily obliged.

(Virat Kohli and Sanjay Bangar - TOI Photo)
Accompanying him in practice was former India all-rounder, ex-India batting coach Sanjay Bangar, who was recently made the head coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore. Kohli and Bangar developed a close working relationship when the latter was the India batting coach.
Having been short of runs in recent times — the 33-year-old scored 218 runs in four Tests at an average of 31.14 on the English tour in August-September — the superstar is clearly now relying on Bangar, whom he trusts a lot when it comes to observations about his batting, to provide him with
valuable inputs which could help him bounce back in form.
“While he practiced against both pace and spin, his major focus has been leaving balls outside the offstump. With throwdowns and slip catching incorporated too, his training has been red-ball specific. Virat loves coming to the CCI — he’s been a member of the prestigious club since the last decade or so-since he finds the facilities very good. A few of the CCI bowlers bowled to him in the nets. Bangar too is a member of CCI, and his son Aryan plays for the club in local cricket,” a source told TOI.

(TOI Photo)
As they jogged around or took their morning cup of coffee, CCI’s members were naturally thrilled to see ‘King Kohli’ gearing up for their next challenge.
Having not scored a Test hundred since November 2019, Kohli looks hungry to score a big one at Wankhede — a venue where he scored a double century (235) the last time India played a Test here, five years back.

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