Former England captain, turned Sky Sports commentator, Nasser Hussain, has called out Indian captain, Virat Kohli as being responsible for India’s loss to England in the first Specsavers Test.
Kohli, who scored more runs than any batsman from either side in that Test brought India back into the game with his blisteringly brilliant 149 in the first innings. He then followed this up with his side’s top score in the second innings, of 51, before India were bowled out for 162.
To give you some perspective, India’s top three batsmen of Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, in the first innings got a combined 50 runs and in the second, a combined 32 runs.
Does Hussain not see this a reason for the loss? When your team is set 194 to win, and your top three can’t string together some decent scores, that to me is the real reason India lost.
Hussain however believes that Kohli should take some responsibly for the loss due to some “questionable” captaincy decisions.
In Sky Sports’ post-match talk, Hussain was quoted as saying:
“England were 87/7 with Curran and Adil Rashid at the crease and for some reason Ravichandran Ashwin went out of the game for an hour. India lost control then – he needs to look back on his captaincy and say ‘when I’ve got a bloke who averages 19 against left-handers and a 20-year-old left-hander on strike, why did I take him off?”
I feel Kohli was perfectly correct in taking Ashwin out of the attack when Curran was batting. He gave the ball to his pace bowlers, as he thought they would be his best chance to bowl England out. What captain wouldn’t give the ball to their pace attack when bowling to the tail?
Did Hussain somehow forget that there are 10 other players in that team that should all take responsibility for the loss? It’s already enough that Kohli has to carry the team in the batting department, but he is expected now to shoulder all the responsibility for a loss when the team doesn’t perform?
Where was the praise from Hussain about Kohli’s good captaincy? When he opened the bowling in England’s first innings with Ashwin? Or when he brought himself in the slip cordon when Stokes came out to bat in the second innings? Were these captaincy decisions not positive? Both, which mind you, resulted in wickets.
Virat Kohli has the whole Indian team on his shoulders, sure he relishes the challenge, but he cannot do it all alone. It’s about time he gets some support.