Sunil Gavaskar raises questions on Virat Kohli’s captaincy in Test cricket

first_imgFormer captain Sunil Gavaskar feels the Indian Test team hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations under Virat Kohli and also questioned the role of the other senior batsmen in the side who have been given a long rope by the team management but have repeatedly come up short on Test tours outside the sub-continent.India lost the fourth Test against England on Sunday to concede a 3-1 lead to the hosts. It is the second successive overseas Test series loss for Kohli as captain after the 2-1 defeat in South Africa earlier this year.India’s loss was its third successive in England after the 4-0 defeats in 2011 and 2014, both of which came under MS Dhoni.WATCH: SUNIL GAVASKAR EXCLUSIVEKohli on this tour hasn’t been able to turn the tide in India’s favour four years down the line despite scoring over 500 runs in the current series.India vs England: ‘Kohli sublime as batsman but not so hot as captain’Gavaskar had slammed the batsmen after the Southampton Test defeat on Sunday saying India are over-reliant on Kohli which has been the team’s biggest weakness over the last couple of years.”When you go in with five batsmen then you are bound to be in such a situation where you rely so much only on one player, Virat Kohli to get you the big hundreds. He can’t do it every time, he’s human.Pushed England to earn victories, did not lose easy: Virat Kohli after series loss”To expect that the lower order (to save India after the top-order collapse) after that Kohli-Rahane partnership was broken, to get even another 60-70 runs was too much,” Gavaskar said after the game.advertisementSouth Africa, England and Australia were always going to be the toughest challenges for India and Kohli as captain but Gavaskar feels that even though the team did well on home soil and in places like Sri Lanka and West Indies, it hasn’t performed up to its full potential in South Africa and England.Virat Kohli gutted as India lose Test series: We were not good enoughKohli’s selection of the playing eleven in England, rotation of his bowlers and failure to clinch key moments in the match have also made the former batting legend sit back and reflect on his captaincy skills.”Everybody would be disappointed looking at the result because when Virat Kohli took over as captain, it seemed like the team would head into a new direction under him. The team looked hungry to win and seemed more hopeful of doing well under Kohli. Everyone thought that he will bring in a lot more josh, a lot more energy into the team. So quite naturally, there will be questions asked about his captaincy. Virat Kohli has suffered back-to-back series defeats outside the sub-continent in South Africa and England as India’s Test captain (Reuters Photo)England win series vs India: Ben Stokes, Sam Curran savour special day”Everybody knew that the three toughest series for India was going to be in South Africa, England and the forthcoming Australia tour. Before this all that India played were more like practice tours in Sri Lanka and West Indies.”Even the way in which India came back to beat Australia in the Test series last year after losing the first match, that gave us the impression that India wouldn’t back down to any challenge under captain Kohli. It seemed India would always play with their heads held high. But the captain is only as good as his team. As a batsman Kohli has lived up to the expectations and even more. He has done everything possible as a batsman.Indian batsmen will fare better in Australia than in England: Shane Watson”If only the other batsmen could have played like him. If any other batsman could have scored over 400-500 runs then India wouldn’t have lost Test series in South Africa and in England. This is like a learning curve for Kohli at the moment. Fans are bound to be disappointed as the expectations were quite high with this team. Looking at how they performed before this at home, in West Indies and in Sri Lanka, everybody were hoping to see history being made on foreign soil,” Gavaskar told India Today in an exclusive chat after India lost the Southampton Test and also the series.England’s lower order made all the difference: Kohli on series lossKohli has so far amassed a record 544 runs in the series and is the leading run-getter from either side while the next best Indian on the list is Cheteshwar Pujara, who has amassed 241 runs. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul have performed miserably till now with just 158 and 113 runs respectively.advertisementDuring this series Kohli crossed the 6000-run mark in Test cricket – the second fastest Indian to do so and is also the first Indian to amass over 500 runs in a series overseas.He has also completed 4000 runs as a Test captain – certainly another huge feat. However, when it comes to impressing everyone with his captaincy skills, Kohli certainly has a long way to go. Virat Kohli has amassed 544 runs in the four Tests against England and is the highest run-scorer from either side in the series (Reuters Photo)”Yes, when Virat took over captaincy, everybody thought that it will be a completely different way because you had MSD (MS Dhoni) who was cool, calm and collected and here was somebody who was very passionate. Not that being calm, cool and collected means that you are not passionate about winning but here was a person who had a completely different approach and outlook to the game,” Gavaskar went on to add.Gavaskar however, refused to put any blame on his former teammate and current head coach Ravi Shastri for the frequent shortcomings on overseas tours.”Just like the captain, a coach is only as good as his team. If the team is not able to raise its level on the field, whatever you might tell them in the changing room or off the field in terms of motivation, won’t help. You can’t blame one person for it. Questions need to be asked of those persons, those individuals who are not able to raise the level of their game rather than a coach. The coaches are doing their best, they are working very hard. They can’t play for them from the change room. They can only hope that what they have told the players is something that they will implement. If the players don’t understand then I don’t think that the coaching staff is to be blamed,” Gavaskar said.last_img read more