Day 5 of the Cheupak test match was anticipated to be a fighting day, due to the recent fightback by the young team under the leadership of Rahane pulled off down under, Indian
fans were looking for a similar Sydney or Gabba magic. The day started with India needing 390 runs with Pujara and Shubman on the crease.
Indian pitches are a haven for spinners, Ashwin exploited the conditions and took 6 wickets on day 4. It was time for the English spinners to use the turn of the wicket and take 1-0 lead in the four-match test series. As expected Jack leach took 4 wickets and the swing magician James Anderson took 3 Indian wickets. The Englishmen won the match under tea time as the Indian team stumbled at 192. The English outcasted the Indian side with the ball and bat.
The Indian team has made a comeback after such losses. But the point that is of greater concern is the condition on and off the field. After the Ganguly era until the Kohli era, we had three cool and composed readers of the game leading the team ( Dravid, Kumble & Dohni). Dravid and Kumble did not remain captain for long but the calmness they bought into the team was carried forward by the most coolest captain in world cricket. The mood in the dressing room and on the cricket pitch during the Dhoni era is acclaimed and is a model case study for any form of sports.
Rahane is of a similar breed, the cool and calmness he brings to the team has fetched little but effective results. The recent success down under is the greatest example. There is nothing wrong with Kohli as a batsman but maybe it’s time to think beyond Kohli playing his double role as the captain and the most dependent batsman for the team. Sachin Tendulkar was the greatest batsman the world has ever seen, Kohli is a perfect match for him but Sachin did not have much success as a captain. Kohli has the percentage of win under him but when the team is under pressure, it fails to pull off some magic. Winning matches regularly is the domain of Kohli but winning crucial matches is still something which we have hardly seen in the Kohli era.
Kohli as a batsman is incomparable and irreplaceable at present but maybe it’s time for the team management to think beyond Kohli as captain in all three formats of the game. Aggression is needed but calmness has fetched, has fetched and will fetch wins under pressure situations and in difficult conditions.