Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind


By Gaurang
December 21 2017

India the current No. 1 Test side by a large margin, have had a dream run in Test cricket starting with the tour to Bangladesh in 2014-15.  Their dominance has been stunning.  21 wins and only 2 losses studded across 9 consecutive series wins, where they beat every team including South Africa, Australia, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, West Indies, and Bangladesh.  In the process Virat Kohli is now the Only captain in Test history to have lost less than 10% of his matches.  Having lost only 3 out of his 32 Tests.  Not Steve Waugh, not Don Bradman, not Ricky Ponting, not Clive Lloyd, and certainly not Steve Smith who has lost nearly one third of the matches he has captained can match his record currently.  But Team India and Kohli himself are about to be Tested like they haven't been in a long while.  

Critics of Kohli would argue that he has not faced the most challenging of conditions. A large percentage of his series wins and they were emphatic wins, no doubt, against quality teams, came in India. The only overseas Test series wins he has managed so far, are against the lesser Test teams of Bangladesh, West Indies and Sri Lanka (twice).

The Next 18 months will see India play South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand all away from home.  How they fare over this year and a half will determine whether Virat and his team are hailed as the greatest team in Indian cricket history, and arguably one of the greatest in all of test history, or will they once again show that Indian cricket teams are tigers moslty at home only.

This stark difference between performance at home versus abroad is not something that is limited to India or Indian cricket. Except for a few teams in history, such as the Clive Lloyd and later Viv Richards led West Indies of the 70s and 80s and the Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting led Aussies from the late 90s to the late 00s, most teams have suffered similarly.  The most recent example is how the World No. 3 England just got pummled by the lower ranked Australians in Australia. And this is a phenomenon that has existed for a very long time.  For example Pakistan had not won a Test series in West Indies for over 50 years until they did so recently, and have never won a Test series in Australia or South Africa.   Sri Lanka not only haven’t won Test series in England, Australia or South Africa, they have actually never won one in India either.

So history is not looking good for Virat and his men. Additionally, the money hungry BCCI has in its most insensitive avatar scheduled India to play a home series against Sri Lanka consisting of 3 Tests, 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is running upto the last week of December…Leaving the Indian team with hardly any time to even travel to, let alone acclimatize or properly prepare for what is sure to be a very tough assignment in South Africa.

In the absence of proper planning by the BCCI, Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have done the best they can. Kohli himself has recused himself from playing in the shortest format of the game, and he along with Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane are the backbone of India’s Test batting.  Similarly India has recused its key Test bowlers, including Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Ravi Ashwin, and Ravi Jadeja from playing in the hit and giggle versions of the game against a weak Lankan side, hoping to preserve them for the much tougher challenges ahead.

On paper India has done all its homework, having picked a 17 man squad bristling with options in every position, from openers, to middle order to wicket keepers, pacers and spinners. Now the only thing that remains is to actually go out and do it.

Indian cricket fans, especially Test cricket fans will be looking forward to this with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Virat who recently got married to long-time girlfriend, Bollywood Diva Anushka Sharma, has enjoyed a honeymoon both in personal and cricketing terms. Now it is about to get real.

pqs: qs:
Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: Indian Cricket Fever (IP Logged)
Date: 21/12/2017 18:27

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:03:10:01:07:23 by Birbal.

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: Birbal (IP Logged)
Date: 22/12/2017 18:54

Interesting to note that India has also taken four young quicks as "net bowlers" for the tour....

This seems to be precautionary in two senses... One they want to preserve the Indian pacers for the BIG contests... but also it shows that they are afraid that the South African authorities may not provide them with the requisite quality of "net bowlers"...

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The quartet includes Hyderabad's Mohammed Siraj, Madhya Pradesh's Avesh Khan, Navdeep Saini of Delhi and Kerala's yorker specialist Basil Thampi.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:12:22:18:57:11 by Birbal.

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: Birbal (IP Logged)
Date: 23/12/2017 19:52

India have also cancelled the so called warm up match.. a 2 day event against a most likely weak SA team full of rookies and has beens...and instead focused on intensive nets... maybe they can even do a internal game between two squads... with 17 plus 4 they will have 21 players... including 2 proper wicketkeepers...They can get a local to make up 2 squads...

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: Birbal (IP Logged)
Date: 08/01/2018 22:25

As predicted... India were able to take 20 wickets quite comfortably... it was the Indian batsmen who couldn't cope... but then what can you expect when you schedule ZERO warm up games before a SERIOUSLY important Test match..

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: Akbar (IP Logged)
Date: 08/01/2018 23:46

You expect batsmen to perform better now?

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: Birbal (IP Logged)
Date: 09/01/2018 00:08

Yes... they will get more used to the conditions.

Also, the DRS system showed its worth... Vijay was given WRONGLY out twice... but DRS saved him.... too bad he couldn't capitalize further...

Rohit Sharma is a walking wicket as is Shikhar Dhawan in these conditions... need Rahane and Rahul...ASAP...

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: ananthd (IP Logged)
Date: 09/01/2018 02:47

Need to first shut the "intent" talk from Kohli/Shastri...

These guys seem to mistake intent with scoring, as if that's the only way....

No middle plan or option to play out a few overs or even a session or two...

Just defend! Come on, I saw a bunch of wafts....

Expect the bowlers to show up, but the batters continue processing, unless someone plays a Dravid like role, anchoring the innings....

Rahane should never have been played in ODI/T20s, I hope he's not lost for Test cricket, it would be a shame....



24 needed with a bunny coming in at 11? No problem!

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: Akbar (IP Logged)
Date: 09/01/2018 18:32

Agree. Many batsmen got out players rash shots in first innings.

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: Birbal (IP Logged)
Date: 09/01/2018 19:20

ananthd...spot on!.... Sunny used to say...give the first hour to the bowler...the rest of the day can be yours... I think even Vijay the alleged Zen MONK of batting...seemed too eager to go for shot especially in first innings...Kohli was out lbw playing ACROSS THE LINE in the second knock...yes you want to keep the board ticking...but on a pitch doing much...and a bowler moving it both ways (Philander)... that showed impatience...Rohit and Dhawan SHOULD go for shots...as they don't have defence to survive on this type of pitch against this type of bowling...

Only Pujara got JAFFERS in both innings...sad smiley

What was the need for hurry...? Had a full 5 sessions to get 200 odd runs if necessary...

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: Birbal (IP Logged)
Date: 19/01/2018 19:44

In second Test Pujara was victim of "Intent" talk... he seems to have been told to try hustle between wickets...

It is not his NATURAL game... and also he is not that NATURALLY athletic... it is silly to ask him to go for quick singles...when we should rather be encouraging him to play LONG GRINDING innings...

In both Tests once the ball got 40+ overs old.. batting became easier. And in the case of Centurion...significantly easier.

Pujara's 100 ball vigil for 26... set up Pandya's innings in the first Test...

In the second Test he was going along smoothly when that attempt at a risky 3rd run...turned the game around.

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: Birbal (IP Logged)
Date: 27/01/2018 19:04

Quote:
Akbar
You expect batsmen to perform better now?

They did in the third test. One can argue that SA were a bit complacent having won the series...but the pitch was a NASTY one... and they finally picked their best batsman overseas Ajinkya Rahane...who also happens to be their best close in catcher...

The results are there for all to see...

Re: Kohli and Company Step into the Whirlwind
Posted by: ananthd (IP Logged)
Date: 29/01/2018 04:27

I think Pujara's vigil was the key to the whole test....

Those 50 balls to get off the mark, basically told SA, that "i'm not going to give you my wicket"....

Yes, the bowlers were great, but they were pretty good in the previous 2 Tests as well....

Also, Rahane in the slips helped Kohli to move to his natural position and I thought he manned his attack better!



24 needed with a bunny coming in at 11? No problem!

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