Virat Kohli needs to curb emotional overflow to avoid fatal misjudgement, writes Ian Chappell
Virat Kohli is an aggressive-minded player but the Indian cricket team skipper needs to ensure any emotional overflow doesn’t lead to a fatal misjudgement, writes Ian Chappell in his column for Hindustan Times.Updated: Jan 07, 2018 13:08 IST
In the era of fake news how about this; the next couple of months will be the real World Championship of cricket. First up, it’s India versus South Africa and that will be closely followed by the Australians’ tilt with the Proteas. Following Australia’s drubbing of England in the Ashes series these are the top three teams on the ICC rankings, with India currently heading the list.
At the conclusion of these two series, we’ll have a pretty good idea who is the best team in world cricket. Both series will be chock full of stars with Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers heading the batting list. If it’s a well-balanced bowling attacks you fancy then Australia and South Africa are top-class, with India not far behind.
Ever since the retirement of Kapil Dev, India have been seeking a pace bowling all-rounder that will allow the selectors the luxury of including two spinners no matter where the contest is played. The evolution of Hardik Pandya has now made that dream a reality but the charismatic all-rounder will face his first big test in the five-day game playing in foreign conditions.
If Pandya can fulfil his potential, it will greatly enhance India’s chances of winning overseas. There will be no shortage of drama now that de Villiers and Dale Steyn are back in the team. Playing at their best, these two talented — albeit injury prone — stars could lift South Africa back to the heady days when they were the team best able to win all round the cricket world.
Then there’s the thrill of watching young pace bowlers harass opposition batsmen. There are none better at the moment than Kagiso Rabada and Pat Cummins; both young speedsters with subtle skills as well as lightning pace. The opposition batsmen better be watching the ball closely or else they’re going to be found wanting.
And if it’s spin you crave, you’ve come to the right place. The Indian pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja has been a dominant combination but riding solo, Nathan Lyon and Keshav Maharaj have also complemented their respective pace attacks brilliantly. Both series hold promise of a spin bowling clinic.
There are also the entertainers with dashing David Warner heading the list of batsmen willing to challenge the bowlers. Kohli with his sublime timing and placement is easy on the eye and de Villiers with his ability to play both conventional and unconventional shots is both good to watch and a dangerous opponent.
And then there are the clinicians; completely at ease with his eccentric style, Smith currently looks invincible. Both Pujara and Amla have a thirst for runs that is unquenchable and epitomise the importance of having a top-class player in the number three slot.
The three captains— blessed as they are with talent-laden teams — are an interesting study in leadership.
Faf du Plessis is the least talented player but he has a good feel for captaincy and, rare in a South African captain, an understanding of spin bowling.
Kohli quickly established his credentials in his first game as skipper when he chased an unlikely victory at the Adelaide Oval and almost pulled off a miracle win. He’s aggressive minded but needs to ensure any emotional overflow doesn’t lead to a fatal misjudgement.
Smith is the most conservative of the three, captaining by the book but he has improved since he started to put more trust in Lyon’s ability. It also helps his captaincy that he’s amassing runs like a billionaire acquires assets and this ensures that his talented attack has a decent total with which to work.
In the 21st century, the best and most exciting series was the enthralling 2005 Ashes contest in the UK. These two series have the potential to challenge that ‘ranking’ and in the process give us a clearer picture of which team is the best in the world.
A fake World Championship in other words.
First Published: Jan 07, 2018 09:31 IST