It hasn’t been a mediocre year for Virat Kohli. He is known as the epitome of consistency but this year he hasn’t set the stage on fire with his batting. In 2020, Kohli failed to score a single hundred in all formats. On top of that, there has been criticism regarding his captaincy. India lost the Test series in New Zealand in early 2020, then RCB failed to reach the finals of the Indian Premier League. Coming to Australia, India lost the ODI series and then suffered a humiliation in first Test in Adelaide.
Ajinkya Rahane took over the captaincy for the Melbourne Test as Kohli took a paternity leave. India turned around their performance and managed to triumph in Melbourne despite all the difficulties. A debate has started raging on giving Rahane the permanent captaincy despite India having an enviable record in Tests under Kohli’s leadership.
Kohli is India’s most successful Test captain in cricket history with 33 win in only 56 matches with win percentage of over 50. But still people debating on removing Kohli as captain.
The legendary Sachin Tendulkar opened on the debate, saying that ‘no individual comes above India’.
“People shouldn’t get into comparisons with Virat. Ajinkya has different personality. His intent was aggressive. I would like to remind everyone that they are both Indians and they both play for India, so no individuals comes above India. Team and country is above everything else,” he told PTI.
One of the reasons why India have been able to contain the Australian batsmen is due to the struggles of Steve Smith. The ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Decade has had a miserable time in the middle as he has struggled to get runs in the two Tests played so far. Smith has managed to hit just 10 runs in 4 innings as the batting unit has failed to put up decent targets as a whole.
Much of the onus for Smith’s failure to get going is on Ravichandran Ashwin. The 32-year-old off-spinner has spun a web around Smith in the Test series so far as he has dismissed him twice while continuously troubling him with his variations and length.
Tendulkar also talked about the duel between the two and explained how Ashwin has gained an upper hand in the contest so far.
“In the first Test, Smith got out to an arm ball or you can call it a straighter which Ashwin releases differently. An off-spinner bowls a straighter which skids off the surface when fingers are not on top of the ball,” Tendulkar told PTI.
Tendulkar also explained how Ashwin has got the ball to bounce and turn in Australia.
“In the second Test, it was not a slider but fingers were on top of the ball which produced bounce and turn.
“Steve Smith played a normal flick to a regulation off-break that any batsman does by instinct and fielder was brilliantly placed there.
“It was a well-planned ball and wicket by Ashwin. Both are class players, so someone is going to have a better day and so far, Ashwin has come out winner in first two Tests.”