India suffered a heavy defeat of 118 runs in the fifth and final Test against England at The Oval on Tuesday (September 11). By virtue of this loss, the No.1 ranked Test side also conceded the series 4-1 to England.
It was India’s second successive overseas Test series loss under Virat Kohli’s captaincy after the 2-1 series defeat in South Africa earlier this year. Although Kohli has done an exceptional job as a batsman in both the series, scoring 286 runs in South Africa and 593 runs in England, his captaincy has often been questioned by the cricket pundits.
Recently, former India opener Sunil Gavaskar raised questions over Virat’s captaincy in the traditional format of the game.
"He (Virat) still has a lot to learn. Like we saw in South Africa earlier and now in England too, there were instances when right field placements or timely bowling changes made by him could have made a big difference. That was missing again. It has just been two years since he took over as a captain so at times the lack of experience shows,” Gavaskar told India Today.
"And whatever experience he had was that of Indian pitches where wickets fall quickly. He did not have the experience of breaking a good partnership. Hopefully, he will learn that by the time we tour Australia and won't let their lower order run away with momentum," he added.
Team India’s next overseas assignment is in Australia, where they will feature in a four-match Test series apart from three T20Is as many ODIs. And Gavaskar feels too much of chopping and changing for the Tour Down Under could only result in more dropping shoulders.
"You don't need massive changes because that upsets the rhythm and confidence of the entire team. But you need to find the areas where you think there were weaknesses. They need to be corrected. The need of the hour is to be brutally honest, to see that this is the area we didn't clearly measure up to. There is a need to fill that place up. That is an area they need to looked at very, very hard. We need to think about the opening pair, the middle order batsman and the all-rounders who have to be selected carefully depending on the pitch and opposition we are playing against," he asserted.
Kohli lost his composure in the post-match press conference when a journalist asked him about coach Ravi Shastri's claim that this is the best touring Indian side in the last 15 years.
Commenting on Indian skipper's reaction, Gavaskar said: "That is probably the wrong time to ask him that question. He (Virat) must have been hurting from the defeat. Maybe the reporter was perfectly justified in asking that but I don't think any skipper would have responded with a 'you are right but we are wrong' statement. To be honest, Ravi (Shastri) would have said that (best touring team in last 15 years) to lift the morale of the team. I don't think so that he was trying to rubbish the earlier teams. That wasn't the coach's intention I believe.”
"His team was 1-3 down and maybe he just wanted to end on a high. I don't think that we should read too much into Virat's reaction either. It was clear that the skipper was disappointed with what had happened and maybe he responded that way," he concluded.