India lost yet another test series in England for the third time in a row since 2011. Except for the win at Trent Bridge, the visitors lost 3 tests, and ultimately the series, elongating the agonizing wait for a test series win in England, that continues for 11 consecutive years till date.
Lack of proper guidance from the coach Ravi Shastri, followed by a display of arrogant behavior from both the players and the captain Virat Kohli, who seemingly cared about their looks and social media status more than their performance on ground were some of the few reasons behind India’s humiliating loss to a rather amateurish side from England.
Once, the overseas bowlers used to have nightmares of players like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag etc. Now, the ‘world class batsmen’ can’t even stand the attacks of a bowler like Moeen Ali, who is not the best all rounder in the world to begin with.
India has never been an overseas specialist when it comes to cricket. Most of our losses in test cricket have come from overseas tours rather than domestic ones, and the current loss is another agonizing addition to the same. According to official figures, India has played a total of more than 260 test matches overseas, with merely close to 50 wins as of now, while losing more than 110 of the same, the rest ending in a draw.
Adding to the woes is the pointless aggression of the captain, Virat Kohli. None is stranger to his aggressive style. However, that style is mostly pointless, since it lacks the aggression that his predecessor, Sourav Ganguly once sported. No doubt Saurav was aggressive as well, but his aggression was goal oriented, and in his tenure, India rarely suffered humiliating defeats. Even when he led India to a historic victory in the NatWest Series in 2002, he checked the English advance, and leveled the series 1-1. Now compare this with the current performance.
Needless to say, Virat Kohli need some good amount of advice in this respect, and who better than the ‘Little Master’, Sunil Gavaskar? A veteran of many test series played between India and England in the English grounds, he has been one of the very few Indian batsmen to have withstood the onslaught of the English bowlers with elan. He even contributed a significant role in the historic series victories of India in England both in 1971 and in 1986.
Following the series closely, Gavaskar had the following advice for Virat Kohli and his team:-
“….When you go in with five batsmen then you are bound to be in such a situation where you rely so much only on one player, Virat Kohli to get you the big hundreds. He can’t do it every time, he’s human……..To expect that the lower order (to save India after the top-order collapse) after that Kohli-Rahane partnership was broken, to get even another 60-70 runs was too much.”
Adding to this, Gavaskar further said, “………….. It seemed India would always play with their heads held high. But the captain is only as good as his team. As a batsman Kohli has lived up to the expectations and even more. He has done everything possible as a batsman.” There lay the subtle message: Virat Kohli is great as a batsman, but not as a skipper, and certainly not overseas.
To be frank enough, nothing is lost for Virat Kohli. He can still work wonders, provided he follows the advice of Mr. Sunil Gavaskar carefully, especially when the next major challenge against Australia is coming up by late December. We hope the captain is listening.