Ravichandran Ashwin may have been the first to jump to skipper Virat Kohli’s defence against James Anderson, but he is certainly not the last.
On Tuesday, former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith and former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq rallied behind Kohli.
After the end of the fourth day’s play in Mumbai on Sunday with India skipper Virat Kohli scoring 235, England medium pacer James Anderson had told reporters that the slowness of the wickets in India takes out of the equation whatever deficiencies Virat Kohli has in his batting technique.
“Is #jimmyanderson saying he can only bowl in English conditions? #kohli #IndvsEng” Graeme Smith tweeted.
Pakistan chief selector Inzamam echoed Smith’s thoughts. “It is surprising to me that Anderson should question Kohli’s runs and ability because I haven’t seen him take too many wickets in India,” Inzamam said on the Geo Super sports channel in Karachi.
“Does Anderson mean to say that if you get runs in England you get some sort of certificate that makes you a quality batsman. Don’t the English and Australian players struggle when they play in the subcontinent? Does that mean they are bad players or weak teams? To me it does not matter where you get runs because in Test matches runs are runs,” the former Pakistan skipper added.
Inzamam, who played against the golden breed of Indian batsmen, rated Kohli highly. “I always judge a batsman by seeing how many times the runs he scores leads to his team winning matches. In my opinion if a batsman scores 80 and it helps his team win, it matters more to me than someone scoring 150 and his team still losing.
“Virat is a quality player and when he is getting runs his team does well. That is important to judge or classify a batsman’s value. There is hunger in him for runs,” Inzamam said.
On Monday, when Anderson walked out to bat, he was greeted by a volley of angry words from Ashwin. The India offie appeared irked. England’s record wicket-taker in Tests Anderson had dismissed Kohli four times during India’s tour of England in 2014 but at home Kohli gave the England bowlers a taste of his willow. He has already scored 640 runs in the series at an average of 128.
Virat Kohli, however, tried to pacify things. “For the first time I was trying to calm things down in the middle at a time when James Anderson is involved,” Kohli told reporters at the Mumbai post-match media conference.
“Ashwin wasn’t pleased with what he (Anderson) said in the press and I didn’t even know about it. He told me on the ground.
“So I didn’t know what to make of it, I was laughing about it, Ashwin wasn’t too impressed and he let him know without using any bad words, honestly,” Kohli added. “Later on, I told James these things happen and let’s move on.”