There were plenty of hopes from the Virat Kohli led Indian Test team as they embarked on their England tour after winning 9 of their last 10 series. However, the numero uno Test side couldn’t quite prove their mettle on English soil as they conceded an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-Test series.
It is India’s second successive overseas Test series loss under Kohli’s captaincy after the 2-1 series defeat in South Africa earlier this year. Although Virat is doing exceptionally well as a batsman, scoring over 500 runs in the current series, his captaincy has often been questioned by the cricket pundits.
After India’s 60-run defeat in the fourth Test at Southampton, legendary India opener Sunil Gavaskar has raised question over Kohli’s selection policy and the rotation of bowlers.
"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,” Gavaskar quoted as saying by India Today.
"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,” he explained.
Gavaskar, however, feels if any other batsman would have had a series like Kohli then the results could’ve been different in South Africa and England.
"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," he asserted.
Sunil Gavaskar refused to put any blame on head coach Ravi Shastri for India’s regular shortcomings on away 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 concluded.