India were overwhelming favourites going into the series against England. They had made history ‘Down Under’ by winning the series in the absence of many of their key members. The return of champion players like Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma strengthened the squad. But the result of the first Test wasn’t the one which India expected. India suffered a 227 run loss to England on the 5th day in Chennai. With this defeat, India slipped to the 4th spot in the WTC points table and England have gone on top of the tree.
How much did Virat Kohli’s captaincy impact the game?
Virat Kohli lost an all-important toss which proved to be a big factor in the Test match. Joe Root won the toss and England put up a huge first innings score of 578. They batted for more than 6 sessions in the first innings which meant India were always on the back foot since then.
The only grouse for which Kohli might be held responsible is the fact that Shahbaz Nadeem was included in the playing XI instead of Kuldeep Yadav. Yadav being the wrist-spinner might have added variety to the attack as compared to Nadeem who happens to be a finger-spinner just like Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar. Nadeem had a bad game which made matters worse for Kohli as he couldn’t stem the flow of runs from Nadeem’s end. It proved to be a crucial call in the larger scheme of things.
Is it the right time for Virat Kohli to step down as a captain?
India suffered its 4th successive Test match defeat under Virat Kohli’s captaincy. This has immediately triggered a discussion questioning the captaincy credentials of India’s most successful Test captain. The defeat in Chennai was India’s second defeat at home (Kohli has captained them in 26 home Tests) under Kohli in 7 years of his captaincy. India are virtually unbeaten at home (and this defeat too might well prove to be an exception).
IND vs ENG: Are critics being too harsh on Kohli?
While critics were quick to point out that Kohli has now lost 4 successive Tests as captain, there is one more stat that went unnoticed. It says before these 4 defeats, Kohli had a successive winning streak of 7 Tests as captain. No other Indian captain has had such a successful run. It is time we back our captain and our team to overcome the hurdles and win the series against England. We owe this to our most successful captain and our fearless yet fighting team.