“Boss, you cannot teach batsmen how to bat, and bowlers how to bowl at this level. A captain or a coach can do only as much. There is no one who works harder at the nets, sweats in the gym, chases big goals and talks more positively in team meetings. This inspirational captain, Virat, used to come up with brilliant strategies at midnight even when he was not playing in Australia. His commitment is phenomenal. India is lucky to be led by Virat Mayur Kohli. Period.
I mean, how do you teach someone like Pujara to hold onto slip catches at crucial moments. The match could have gone either way, boss. Our tactics were working. We had a plan in place. We were still in the match. Pujji knew. He was aghast. His expression said it all. The bowlers were all fired up. That Bumrah bouncer which hurt Ross emanated from that frustration. That is the kind of passion that Virat has instilled in the team.
How do you tell someone as senior as Jinks to not throw his wicket away after scoring 49 runs in the first innings. He fell in both innings at bad times and that set up back. Especially, after Virat had batted majestically for his 44 runs.
Now that was a great innings. India were put into bat. Could not have helped the toss, could we? We were two down. Pujara was stuck in the quagmire. There were frequent rain breaks. How do you keep yourself engrossed in the moment? How do you maintain such unwavering focus? Inspiration was on the other end. It was good time for Pujara and Jinks to get inspired. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. There is always the next battle, the next Chamionships, the next Cup to prove yourself. It is never over until you throw in the towel. And India-under-Kohli never does that.
Even in the second innings, any team would have opted for safety- first. But Virat is a captain, who never takes a pause, or a step back, The plan was to set a decent target and go for outright win. He got an unplayable beauty from Jamieson. You are the best batsman in the world, but it happens. Pujara should have applied himself better. Jinks could have stayed a bit longer. Pant had to go for his natural game. No complaints.
We are disappointed as a team. I would be lying if I said we are not. But knowing Virat and his boys, they must already be thinking of England and the IPL. This team would bounce back. Congratulations to the Kiwis for now.
There are areas which we shall work upon, like Pujara can rotate the strike better, and Jinks can put a higher price on his wicket. Pujara has not scored a test hundred in the past two and a half years. They are senior players, after all, and must share more responsibility. Look at Rohit, he has been extraordinary for us. Virat’s form with the bat is not a concern. He has been among runs. It does not matter that he has not scored a test hundred in almost two years. He is one of the greatest to have batted for India.
Our tail needs to contribute more. Those are valuable runs down the order. We were hamstrung by Hardik Pandya’s inability to bowl. He is someone who Kohli has nurtured as a genuine batting all-rounder. His absence hurt our balance. But Jadu and Ash are world class spinning all-rounders too. Ash is always larger than life, and Virat has always backed him fully. Jadu is also Virat’s go-to bowler in the fourth innings, when the line-ups are to be run over, or overs have to quickly bowled. These two have really flowered under Virat’s captaincy. We opted to play both as this was our best combo.
Bumrah has been a tad stiff ever since his return from injury. But full marks to him for trying. Shami was good, Ishant gave a hundred percent. As a unit, we could have bowled better. There was Siraj on the bench. We have Thakur and Sundar waiting. This team, developed by Captain Kohli is the best ever to play for the country. Just imagine that players of the calibre of Mayank and Vihari could not make it to the eleven. Such is the level of talent that this team boasts.
We won a great series against England. Our win is Australia would remain special. If Virat’s boys could manage to come back from 36 all out, and after the first test drubbing against England in Chennai, there is no reason to feel pessimistic. I am sure Virat Kohli would lead us to victories at the next World Cup T20, ODI and WTC. That confidence is my single biggest take-away from this campaign.”
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