'Virat Kohli will be tested in South Africa'
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Ray Jennings and Virat Kohli are no strangers to each other. The veteran South African coach has now seen Kohli develop into one of the most influential batsmen in world cricket from close quarters during the six seasons of the IPL in the Royal Challengers Bangalore dug-out.
The renowned tough-as-nails coach was also there in Kuala Lumpur in 2008, though in the opposition camp, as a brasher and younger Kohli led his U-19 troops to glory in the junior World Cup.
Over the last 10 days, Jennings has also seen his ward being roughed up by the South African pacers in the ODI series, one where Kohli averaged only 15.50, a rare blight for the otherwise prolific right-hander. But he also agrees that the 25-year-old will be the key for India's success. Speaking to The Indian Express, Jennings talks about Kohli's failings against the short ball in foreign climes, his mind-set and why he could be India's man for the crisis. Excerpts
If you were the coach of the side, what would you tell Kohli after his ODI dismissals?
I know Virat is a very moody and confidence type of player. When he is on a high, he is very high. And when he is low, he's very low. So the most important thing for him right now is to get his mind into that confident state, to make sure he feels good about himself. I know Virat likes hitting a lot of balls and making himself feel good. If you see him walk very confidently to the wicket, he's a very destructive player. But he needs to be in that mood.
Do you think he is low after the ODI series?
When you haven't scored runs for three innings and you are playing the No.1 side in the world, you are not very confident. Players get built up with performances and things like that. After a few failures, you don't feel bad about yourself but are not confident about your skills. A confident player can deliver his skills while a diffident player tends to hold back and finds it difficult to score runs. I'm sure Virat is, may be not worried, but thinking about getting his skills and performances up.