There have been some weird annoyances from the Puritans about Virat Kohli’s behavior, but let’s face it, Test cricket has been sick for quite some time and the carefree demeanor of the Indian captain has breathed new life into it.
No matter how much they hate him, no cricketer expert has openly criticized Kohli’s conduct. Contrary to this, former cricketers believe he is the man to bring the long version out of his sickly phase, even though men in suits continue to flirt with the shorter formats.
A struggling batting team and a powerful Indian-beaten attack forced England to offer a brown surface to Headingley, a venue historically known for its prodigious tailoring movement. Tuesday was an optional training session for India, but offie long net R Ashwin gave some clues to India’s eleven on Wednesday. (Photo Reuters)
Take it or leave it, tourists to Kohli will continue to play with the same intensity, daring, and with England coach Chris Silverwood vowing to fight fire with fire after Lord’s stinging setback – there could be a another humdinger on the way – this time at Headingley. Compared to England, India has fewer issues at hand before the third test. For starters, Kohli and the team’s think tank have a tough choice between aging workhorse Ishant Sharma and rookie Shardul Thakur, who missed the last test due to a hamstring issue.
No longer a first pick, Ishant had proven to be India’s ace in the hole in the previous test as he broke a menacing 58-point partnership between Joe Root and Moeen Ali in the opening innings, then followed him by firing Sam Curran for a first ball duck.
The 32-year-old pocketed two more wickets in the second set and stayed on the wicket to score 16 valuable points before Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah took over.
Does Ishant have enough fuel in the tank to perform consecutive tests? General conditions at Leeds have favored the Rapids in recent seasons and there could be enough doubts to play R Ashwin. Kohli hasn’t revealed much about the final eleven, but admitted he’s taken aback by the pitch on offer.
“As far as Ashwin’s play goes, we’re quite surprised to see the pitch,” Kohli said on Tuesday. “I thought there would be more grass on the pitch and it would be more spicy and lively. Anything is possible,” he added.
The other problem at hand is the inconsistent stick. In a bid to win his first round of tests in England as a skipper, Kohli’s stick appears to have lost its bite and he looks vulnerable outside of the strain again. The lean area of Kohli could be one of the factors why the ax did not fall on Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane despite the lack of tracks.
With the opening looking sorted, Rishabh Pant didn’t seem comfortable batting at No.6 in England against Duke’s ball, but the wicket-beater-keeper might just get out of trouble. Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja (99 points in three innings) still has to fill the wicket column while playing the role of the all-rounder.
For England, the problems have come down en masse. Root has been deprived of the services of top players for a variety of reasons and their absence has had a significant impact on the team.
The first order with their home spinning techniques was a sitting duck for the Indian ringleaders. Opener Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley were banned from county cricket while Dawid Malan, who was dumped due to his inability to score at home, was recalled. Haseeb Hameed, who will open the baton with Rory Burns, looked pissed off.
On the bowling side, hosts can choose between Craig Overton and Saqib Mahmood for fourth seamer place.