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India vs England: Virat Kohli & Co eye historic comeback ahead of Southampton Test

Virat Kohli has banished his 2014 blues with two centuries, and the buzz around him is much like the attention Sachin Tendulkar used to get, especially in England where he played five series in 21 years.

cricket Updated: Aug 27, 2018 15:36 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Nottingham
India vs England,Virat Kohli,Trent Bridge
Virat Kohli in action during the third Test match between India and England at Trent Bridge.(REUTERS)

India end a deserved break after the Trent Bridge high and head to Southampton on Monday to build up for the crucial fourth Test against England starting at the Rose Bowl on August 30. Prithvi Shaw, the 19-year-old opener, and fellow batsman, Hanuma Vihari have joined the team and await their first net session.

The manner in which Virat Kohli and his team have turned things around after going down 0-2 has put pressure on England and many believe the visitors can complete a historic comeback victory, and emulate Don Bradman’s Australia of 1936-37.

India have won only three Test series in England. A key member of the first, in 1971, was wicketkeeper-batsman Farokh Engineer. He believes Kohli’s team can better the achievements of the past if they win this series. India won 2-0 in 1986 under Kapil Dev and 1-0 in 2007 under Rahul Dravid.

“I’m absolutely delighted, as every Indian is, with how India came back, that too after losing the toss,” said the Manchester-based Engineer. “They didn’t show much fight at Lord’s, but put their heads down at Trent Bridge. (Hardik) Pandya came up with an all-round performance.”

Kohli has banished his 2014 blues with two centuries, and the buzz around him is much like the attention Sachin Tendulkar used to get, especially in England where he played five series in 21 years. Kohli is the focus of the British media, be it India’s fightback, England’s poor batting or Joe Root’s captaincy.

READ: Virat Kohli teaches Stuart Broad a lesson for sledging Rishabh Pant

“Conditions are very different from India. The ball swings, and no cricketer is complete unless he takes wickets or scores runs in England,” said Engineer, who played 46 Tests from 1961-1974.

FAMILIAR BUZZ

He reminisced on a 19-year-old Tendulkar scoring his first Test century at Old Trafford in 1990.

“He scored his first 100 after having dinner at my house,” he recalled. “We had a barbecue in Manchester the previous night… Sachin at that stage was a wonder boy.

“The buzz around Virat is unmistakable. He had a lot to prove after 2014, and he has done that. I will be the happiest man being 2-2 coming to the Oval. India is very capable of doing that (win the series).”

UNFAIR COMPARISON

Former India left-arm spinner, Dilip Doshi, played for Nottinghamshire, based at Trent Bridge, for long. “Sir Gary Sobers recommended me to the county, he was my godfather,” he says with pride.

He is delighted with India’s 203-run win. “The speed with which India turned things around tells me this team has come of age,” he said. “These players fully understand what they have to do; the series will get more interesting from here.”

READ: India vs England: ‘Rishabh Pant has guts but needs some improvements’

Doshi played 33 Tests between 1979 and 1984 and took 114 wickets – he has 898 first-class scalps – said it was unfair to compare Tendulkar and Kohli in any way.

“Virat loves responsibility, takes on challenges and at the same time is pragmatic. If he gives off his best and still loses, he will accept it. He leads from the front,” he said. “You can’t compare players of different eras, but Virat has the makings of an all-time great player.

“Tendulkar was a different kind of player, Kohli is different, although I have no doubt Sunil Gavaskar has to be the greatest opening batsman the world has seen. Close to him will be Jack Hobbs (England’s pre-WW I batsman).

“I feel, Virat will still get better because he is hungry to learn.”

First Published: Aug 27, 2018 09:53 IST