Birmingham: While Virat Kohli, the batsman, has won over fans following his performance in the first Test against England at the Edgbaston where he scored 149 and 51 in the first and second innings respectively, his efforts went in vain as Joe Root-led England won the Test by 31 runs to take 1-0 lead in the five-mach series.
While Kohli urged his teammates to up their game and learn from the tailenders about resistance, former England skipper-turned-commentator Nasser Hussain has questioned Kohli’s captaincy, saying Kohli, the captain, should be blamed for India’s loss.
“Kohli was phenomenal in this game. He deserved to be on the winning side for the way he played with the tail. He singlehandedly brought India back into the Test match. I do think he should take some of the responsibility for the loss, though,” Hussain told Sky Sports after India’s defeat in the first Test.
Kohli, whose 149-run knock, where he managed to reduce England’s lead to 13 runs, came under Hussain’s scrutiny after India allowed England to reach 180-run mark in the second innings after they were reduced to 87-7, with all their premier batsmen back in the dressing room.
“England were 87-7 with Curran and Adil Rashid at the crease and for some reason Ravichandran Ashwin went out of the game for an hour. India lost control then – he needs to look back on his captaincy and say ‘when I’ve got a bloke who averages 19 against left-handers and a 20-year-old left-hander on strike, why did I take him off?,” Hussain asked.
The former right-hand batsman though felt that the first England versus India Test was a great advert for the longest format of the game and said that the Dukes ball played a role in adding the excitement.
“The pitch has a lot to do with that – it wasn’t a flat belter – and so have the players. The standard of bowling and captaincy (has been great). I think Joe Root has been outstanding in this game. A lot of times nowadays we see one side get ahead in Test matches and series and then the other doesn’t seem capable of fighting back. This match has switched one way and then the other,” said Hussain.
“The template for Test cricket has been set and I don’t see why the ICC can’t just use the Dukes ball around the world. It produces exciting cricket, so why don’t the ICC go down that road?,” he asked.
Hussain, meanwhile, was impressed with the youngster’s Sam Curran show. The 20-year-old scalped four wickets and scored a quickfire 63 in the second innings, which eventually changed the course of the match.
“He has won England this game. India might say Kohli got 200 runs but who turned this game around? A 20-year-old. It’s a phenomenal achievement. He changed the course of two innings. He came on with India 50-0 and pitched it up, swung it and got four for nothing and he then went in with England 87-7,” said Hussain.
“After his first game you thought he was maybe a bits-and-pieces cricketer and wondered whether he was quick enough, could move it enough and if he was a proper batsman. I always used to say ‘pick someone on their character more than what they are showing in county cricket’. He has character in abundance,” concluded Hussain.