Kohli the Most Guilty One

It’s good to be The King.

It was inevitable cricket pundits in both Australian and India would line up to condemn the Indian team for capitulating for 36 in the second innings of the First Test against Australia. But while the team has copped plenty of stick, I haven’t seen many critics single out the one player who really messed up: Virat Kohli.

The Times of India called India’s performance an ‘indelible blot’, writing the Indian batsmen were ‘frozen in fright, and eventually reduced to blind panic’. Former India captain Kris Srikkanth called it ‘pathetic batting’

Steady on. A bit too much hyperbole here.

For a start, not all the batsmen were guilty of poor batting. I agree with Sunil Gavaskar in his assessment that India’s collapse was due less to reckless batting than to one of the best spells of seam bowling ever seen. Hazlewood and Cummins simply bowled an extraordinary number of unplayable deliveries and gave no scoring opportunities. Bishen Bedi agreed the Indians did not throw their wickets away.

If Pujara, Rahane and Vihari had not played at the ball, they all would have lost their off stump. They had no alternative. The ball that claimed Agarwal probably would have gone off over off stump, but it was so close one can’t blame him for playing it. Saha played a rash shot and Ashwin pushed needlessly at the ball, but as the No. 7 and No. 8 batsmen, they can hardly shoulder too much of the blame for the collapse.

If one is going to point the finger at anyone, it should be Virat Kohli. The skipper was the only senior batsman to play a bad shot, and it could not have come at a worse time with the score at 19-5. As India’s best player, it was his job to steady the ship after a few quick wickets. He should have knuckled down and tried to weather the storm, but instead tried to impose himself on the bowlers at the worst possible moment by attempting an expansive drive. It is interesting the Indian media are prepared to jump on the team as a whole, but few are willing to directly criticize Kohli. The skipper is a magnificent cricketer, but in this instance he erred far more than his teammates. It was a difficult situation for anyone to bat in, but he’s constantly referred to as the world’s best player.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *