Aside from being a run machine and a modern-day icon, one thing that Virat Kohli has proven during his storied career is that he performs best in harsh and difficult environments, particularly when opponents prefer to get under his skin. That is what set him apart from the other elite players and made him the champion that he is. Ask the Australians; they've discovered this the hard way. When it comes to pre-series analysis and predictions before a match against India, seasoned cricketers from all around the world have consistently advised against playing with fire.
Ben Stokes and company have been told by a former England spinner, who featured in the renowned 2012–13 series against India in India, to take a big risk and sledge Kohli in the upcoming five-match Test series, which starts in Hyderabad next week.
The first game of the series will take place at Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Thursday between India and England. Having played in the recently finished T20I series against Afghanistan at home, Kohli has already arrived in the city to start getting ready.
With 1991 runs in 28 matches, the second-most he has ever scored against a single opponent, Kohli's statistics undoubtedly show that he enjoys the challenge of facing England's bowlers. The most runs he has ever scored against an opponent, 1015, have come from home at an average of 56.38 with three centuries. As a result, Monty Panesar had encouraged the visiting England team to use mind games to limit the former India captain's run-scoring potential. Kohli is undoubtedly the batsman to watch out for.
"Play with his ego and get psychologically stuck into him"- Panesar to Ben Stokes and co
After England won the 2012–13 series in India, Panesar, who finished second in the country in terms of wickets taken (17, including two fifties), advised Stokes and his team to play on Kohli's ego by dubbing India "chokers" and bringing up their long-standing Apex Cricket Council trophy drought.
"Play with his ego and get psychologically stuck into him. They should also say things to him like, you guys are chokers when it comes to the final. They should sledge him on those lines because Stokes has won the ODI and T20 WC and Kohli has not and that is going to mentally pinch him," Monty Panesar said.
The former England spinner also said that Kohli will be dismissed by James Anderson yet again. Virat Kohli was dismissed by the former England spinner four times in the 2014 series. However, in four series so far, the 35-year-old has only been dismissed twice; the most recent being in 2021. In India, Anderson has also not yet dismissed Kohli.
"I think it will be James Anderson and I think it will be the reverse swing that would get Kohli," Panesar added.