Kohli’s form does matter: Anderson

Virat Kohli feels “it doesn’t matter if I don’t score runs as long as India wins”, but England pace spearhead James Anderson says the India captain has to be lying if he says t his individual form won’t be a factor in the upcoming five-Test series starting on August 1.

“It doesn’t matter if he gets runs or not? I think he is telling lies there,” Anderson told PTI in jest when asked about Kohli’s statement.

In 2014, Kohli had struggled to get going and managed only 134 runs in five Tests, one of his worst Test performances.

It is a blot on his stellar career, even though he scored 655 runs in five Tests against England in the home series (2016-17) to lead his side to a 4-0 win.

At the beginning of the ongoing tour, Kohli had laughed off queries about his form, stating he intends to enjoy his time here rather than obsess over individual form as long as the team does well.

“For India to win here, of course it matters. Virat will be desperate to score, as you would expect from the captain and one of the best players in the world,” Anderson said.

The 35-year-old pacer has a good record against Kohli, having dismissed him four times in six innings during the 2014 tour.

Overall, in Tests, Anderson has dismissed Kohli five times going back to 2012.

However, Anderson struggled during the 2016 tour of India with modest returns of four wickets in three Tests.

“Today, cricketers learn from not only watching match footage but also from experience. So I would expect a batsman of Kohli’s quality to have learnt from that series.

“I am sure he (Kohli) is practising hard at certain aspects of his game and that will make the battle between him and not just myself, but him and the rest of our bowlers, a really exciting one,” Anderson said.

Interestingly, there is a heat wave in England at present and the conditions could suit India more.

“… we have had a hot few weeks (and a hot summer overall). So the pitches may well be dry and suit India more.

“That is something we will take into account. We will be hopeful that we have a couple of weeks of rain before the series starts and be able to grow some grass on the wickets.”

With A.B. de Villiers retired, Steve Smith serving a year’s ban and Kane Williamson enjoying some off time during New Zealand’s winter, this summer promises to be a clash between two in-form batsmen, Kohli and Joe Root.

Having bowled to all of them, Anderson was asked to pick the best at the moment.

“I don’t like bowling to any of them, to be honest,” he replied.

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