At times, Virat Kohli’s lack of experience shows: Sunil Gavaskar
Gavaskar said it was apparent Kohli still "has a lot to lear .. Read more at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/65803256.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
Virat Kohli the batsman may have covered himself in glory in England but India’s 1-4 series defeat has ensured that the spotlight has now shifted to Kohli the captain.
Some thorny issues like picking the wrong XI, backing the wrong personnel or even making questionable bowling and fielding changes are still pricking Kohli, days after the long tour ended in yet another defeat for his team. The latest to weigh in on the debate is former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar, who has said it was apparent Kohli still “has a lot to learn” when it comes to tactical issues.
‘Not adequately prepared’
Gavaskar also said India’s failure in England was unsurprising, since the team was not adequately prepared for red-ball cricket. “We saw what happened in South Africa and what has now happened in England. It is an old saying that if you fail to prepare then you must be prepared to fail,” Gavaskar told India Today.
“All of us who have been around for some time know that preparation is such an important aspect of international sport and were aware this was likely to happen. The fact that it happened does not surprise us that much. Hopefully, the same mistakes won’t be repeated in Australia even though they might not be that strong an opposition without Steve Smith and David Warner in the ranks,” Gavaskar said.
On Kohli’s captaincy skills, Gavaskar said, “He (Virat) still has a lot to learn. Like we saw in South Africa earlier and now in England, there were instances when right field placements or timely bowling changes made by him could have made a big difference.
“That was missing again. It has just been two years since he took over as a captain (actually it has been almost four years since Kohli took over as Test captain from MS Dhoni) so at times the lack of experience shows,” Gavaskar said.
“Whatever experience he had was that of Indian pitches, where wickets fall quickly. He did not have the experience of breaking a good partnership. Hopefully, he will learn that by the time we tour Australia.”
‘Need to be brutally honest’
On Kohli’s debatable team selections, Gavaskar said the team management needed to be “brutally honest” and avoid needlessly tinkering with the XI. “The need of the hour is to be brutally honest, to see that this is the area we didn’t clearly measure up to. There is a need to fill that place up. That is an area they need to look at very, very hard.
“We need to think about the opening pair, the middle-order batsman and the all-rounders who have to be selected carefully depending on the pitch and opposition we are playing against,” Gavaskar said, adding: “Whatever it might be, 4-1 is a massive win. It means when it mattered, England won all the key moments.”
Shastri under fire too?
The thrashing in England, following the loss in South Africa earlier this year, also piles pressure on coach Ravi Shastri ahead of a tour to Australia in November and next year’s World Cup, as well as a big clash with arch-rivals Pakistan next week.
Critics and former captains have rounded on the coach, particularly for his mid-series claim that his team is the best to come out of India in 15 years. Prior to the final Test at the Oval – which India lost by 118 runs – Shastri had raised eyebrows with lavish praise for his side.
“If you look at the last three years, we have won nine matches overseas and three series. I can’t see any other Indian team in the last 15-20 years that has had the same run in such a short time,” he said. India have won two recent series in Sri Lanka and one in the West Indies.
His comments rankled former star players. Sourav Ganguly, who was part of the committee that appointed Shastri last year, dismissed the coach’s claims as “immature”.
Gavaskar pointed out that Indian teams of the 1980s had won series in England and the West Indies, as well as a series victory in England as recently as 2007. Meanwhile, former Test opener Virender Sehwag said, “The best travelling teams are made by performances on the ground and not by sitting in the dressing room and talking about it.”
Captain Kohli leapt to his coach’s defence following the final Test. Asked about Shastri’s pre-match comments, Kohli said: “We have to believe we are the best side, why not?”
Kohli’s Debatable Decisions
- At Edgbaston, Ashwin was troubling the left-handers and England had been reduced to 87/7. Then Curran hit Ashwin for a few boundaries and the offie was removed from the attack. Kohli brought on the pacers and Curran scored his maiden fifty, taking England to a respectable total.
- At Lord’s, rain washed out the first day’s play and the forecast was for overcast conditions all through. Kohli, however, picked chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav in pace-friendly conditions. India sorely felt the lack of an extra seamer and lost by an innings and 159 runs.
- At Southampton, a chastened Kohli played an injured Ashwin, even though it was apparent days before the Test that India’s premier offspin bowler was unfit. Ashwin struggled, bowling 51.5 overs for his three wickets on a spin-friendly surface, while Moeen Ali ran through India with nine scalps.
- In South Africa, Kohli dropped Ajinkya Rahane – one of India’s best overseas batsmen in the recent past – from the first two Tests. India lost both. Rahane came back for the third, scored 48 in the second innings and India finally won a game.