'Drying him up' - Neil Wagner issues a warning to Virat Kohli ahead of second Test

‘Drying him up’ – Neil Wagner issues a warning to Virat Kohli ahead of second Test

Kohli has scored only 201 runs in nine innings in the ongoing tour of New Zealand.

Neil Wagner and Virat Kohli
Neil Wagner and Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Twitter)

New Zealand left-arm pacer Neil Wagner is set to return to the playing XI that will take on Virat Kohli’s India in the second Test starting at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Saturday. The 33-year-old South African-born bowler stood tall among the ruins when New Zealand toured Australia recently by taking 17 wickets in three matches.

He did not play in the first Test in Wellington due to paternity leave but will add strength to the hosts’ firepower in the final match to bag the series 2-0. New Zealand won the first Test by 10 wickets as the Indian batsmen failed to tackle the home team’s fast bowlers.

Wagner, who has 204 wickets in 47 Tests at an average of less than 27, had dismissed in 2014 and since then, he has grown into one of the big names in the long format. The seamer will look to prevail over Kohli who has struggled with the bat for a while now.

New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner is all set to return to the playing XI for the 2nd Test against India after missing the series opener due to his daughter’s birth last week. Wagner himself is clear about his team’s plan when it comes to targeting the best batsman in the world.

He said the hosts will look to restrict scoring opportunities for Kohli and put pressure on India’s batting that looked out of sorts at the Basin Reserve. Kohli’s last international fifty came in Hamilton earlier this month and in the recent Test, he could manage only two and 19.

“Every team I play against I always try and target and go for their best players, because you know what a big stride it makes within a team when you get their best players out,” Wagner, who troubled Steve Smith in Australia earlier this year and has dismissed Kohli thrice in six innings, told Stuff.co.nz

“Drying him up, making sure they don’t score and putting a lot of pressure on him from both ends [is imperative].”

Kohli going through a rare lean patch

Kohli has scored only 201 runs in nine innings in the ongoing tour of New Zealand and his highest score has been 51, his only fifty on this tour, came in the first ODI.

The Indian captain, however, has played down the concerns over his batting form and said he wanted to just focus on doing the right things in the run-up to the Christchurch Test.