August 13, 2018
| On 10 months ago

Why Kohli didn’t bat at number four in second innings at Lord’s?

By Chaitanya Laxman

The abysmal performance of Indian batsmen has disappointed and surprised the fans for sure but something else surprised everyone during India’s second innings at Lord’s.

After the fall of the second wicket, everyone expected Virat Kohli to enter the ground as the Indian captain bats at number four. But instead of Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane came out to bat who generally bats at number five.

This move was indeed surprising and straightaway speculations started to arise. Some thought it was a strategic move while some believed Kohli is doing this to shield himself from James Anderson.

Some even believed that this was team management’s decision to give Rahane more time in the middle and allow him to get into grove. However, the truth was something else.

The reason behind Kohli’s inability to bat at number four in the second innings is his back injury. When India was fielding, Kohli went off the field as he was feeling stiffness in the back. And even when he came back to field, his body language reflected his struggle.

Kohli was absent from the field for 37 minutes and according to laws of cricket, a player cannot come to bat for the same period of time he was absent from the field.

This law is specifically aimed at internal injury which is what Kohli was suffering from. If the injury is an external one like fielder getting hit by the ball, then this law does not apply. Since Kohli’s back injury is considered as an internal injury, the umpires informed the Indian captain that he cannot bat for the first 37 minutes of India’s innings.

But unfortunately for India and Kohli, the team lost both its openers very early and that’s why Rahane had to come out and bat at number four.

However, the change of bating positions made little difference as both Rahane and Kohli failed to make a significant contribution and India was all out for a paltry score of 130 runs.

After the match, Kohli said that the injury isn’t a worrying factor and he is confident that he will be fully fit for the third Test.

Chaitanya Laxman