When India was about to start its home season under new captain Virat Kohli, there were few apprehensions about how Virat Kohli and the young cricketers, brought up in T20 world, would fare in grueling home season. Team India had fire power but inexperience and lack of ability was there to thwart their ascendency. At the end of the home season, Team India under Virat Kohli not only proved their critics wrong but also smashed many record en-route to their success.
Here is the list of the record smashed by Indian players.
Ravichandran Ashwin –
(i) Ashwin took 82 wickets in 13 test in the season and broke record held by Dale Steyn (78 ) since 2007-08.
(ii) Ashwin also became quickest to take 250 wickets ( 45 Test) breaking record of Richard Hadlee ( 48 Test )
(iii) Ashwin also became quickest to get 25 five-wickets haul ( in 47 Test) breaking record of Richard Hadlee ( 62 Test). He also became fastest to take 200 wickets at home ( in 30 test ). Ashwin’s current bowling strike rate of 52 is best by a spinner in last 100 years.
Ravindra Jadeja –
(i) Jadeja became only third player in Test Cricket history to score more than 500 runs and take more than 50 wickets in a season other two being Kapil Dev in 1979-80 and Mitchell Johnson in 2008-09. Jadeja sits on top of the chart with 556 runs and 71 wickets.
(ii) Jadeja became the highest left arm wicket-taker after 30 Tests, with 142 wickets. He is followed by Mitchell Johnson, who had 137 wickets after 30 Tests.
Cheteshwar Pujara –
(i) Pujara scored 1316 runs and set record of highest runs scored by an Indian in a season in Test matches breaking 8 year old record of Gautam Gambhir (1269). He, now, also holds record of most run in a season in test matches at home venue.
Virat Kohli –
Kohli became first batsman to score 4 double century in four consecutive series. He went past Don Bradman and Dravid. Both of them did it in three consecutive series.
And here comes the most interesting one –
Since Steve Smith’s infamous brain-fade incident, Australia have taken more than 10 DRS and was successful in only one but yes as they said Aussies don’t cheat you know.
What a debut it has been for “chinaman” Kuldeep Yadav. His expressive celebration when he got his first test wicket said how much it meant to him to represent India in Test Cricket. A 5-wicket haul today would have made it an unforgettable day for him but anyway four wicket is no less an achievement as he turned the tide in favour of India.
If you are wondering why Kuldeep Yadav being a left handed bowler is called a Chinaman bowler and Jadeja isn’t. Let me solve that puzzle for you.
A left handed spinner who bowls over the wrist and gets ball turn into right hander, which Kuldeep Yadav does, is called a Chinaman bowler whereas Jadeja is an orthodox left handed bowler who uses his fingers to spin the ball away from right hander.
The origin of name “Chinaman” has a story behind it.
It is said that former West Indian left arm orthodox spinner Ellis Achong, of chinese ancestry, in 1933 test match, out of nowhere bowled an over the wrist ball that turned from off to leg and got batsman Walter Robins stumped. It is believed that while he walked back he said ” Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman” and from then on left arm “over the wrist” bowlers are called Chinaman.
All champion sides have one thing in common: they have an aura that creates fear in opponents and makes opponents lose the game in their mind even before the real game has begun. West Indies in late 70s & 80s and Australia on either side of millennium were such champion teams.
Team India enjoy such an aura at their home turf.Teams lose their sleep just at the thought of playing a test series in India. They have an enviable record at home. Since the start of new millennium, India has lost just three test series out of twenty nine test series played at home turf.
Current series, against Australia, is India’s 30th home test series since the start of new millennium and Australia, against all odds, beat India in India after 4502 days in the first test of the current series. Chink in India’s armour has been exposed by Aussies. This was certainly not in the script for VIrat Kohli & Co. It may have dented their confidence but the real character of a champion team is reflected at the face of adversity and if India feels that they are champion side then now is the perfect time to show their character.
Aussies were unexpectedly mute before the start of the series and now it seems that their silence was indication of the upcoming storm. That storm has hit India hard and handed India their second biggest loss at home turf. Aussies were buoyant after this win. If it was any other team then they would have got carried away with this surprise win and would have lost the focus but Aussie belong to altogether different breed. When they smell the blood, they don’t wait for their prey to commit mistakes, they pounce and go for kill. They would go all out in Bengaluru to take invincible lead of 2-0.
VIrat Kohli has his task cut out because not only the next test or the series is on the line but also India’s aura of champion at home turf is in danger. Tough days are ahead for Virat Kohli in this series but it should not bother either Virat Kohli or Indian cricket team fans because it is these difficult moments that separate the men from the boys. Time to see who all are the men in this Indian team. Kohli, Ashwin, Pujara, Nair ?
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is arguably India’s best captain but there is no denying the fact that he is India’s most successful captain. For the record, no other captain in the world won all three ICC Trophy i.e T20 World Cup, ODI World Cup, and Champions Trophy except MS Dhoni. He has done many firsts for India as captain and we all have those records on tip of our tongues but what is the change that Dhoni brought in the Indian team that he captained for almost a decade? What is his legacy?
1.Cultivating Winning mentality in the shorter format of the game.
Real change in the attitude of the Indian team started under Sourav Ganguly. He made the Indian team a bunch of fighters. He taught India how to reach finals but sadly, on most of the occasions India faltered on big stages and lost big finals. Under Sourav Ganguly, India reached 14 ODI finals but could win only one final and three finals ended with no result. Under Dhoni, things changed drastically and India took a giant leap. India learned how to win big finals and the winning habit was cultivated in players. Earlier, India started as underdogs in finals, under Dhoni India became favourites in the finals and the rich haul of trophy under Dhoni is the testimony to the fact. Under Dhoni, India won eight finals and lost only five.
2.Backing Young players and leaving the core behind for the next captain.
Dhoni’s first ODI trophy as captain came in Australia in 2008 CB series. Beating Australia, a dominant team for two decades, in their own backyard, in first two of the three finals when Ricky Ponting infamously claimed that they would finish off India in first two finals, was one of the sweetest victories that India grabbed. But, the story before that series was not at all rosy. India dropped two big names i.e Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid from ODI squad and Dhoni famously said that sometimes it is very important to send the message across. Since then he always backed youngsters with an eye on the future.
Sourav Ganguly is always credited for building team India by backing players like Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan etc but Dhoni is never given due credit in this regard. Not long ago, people mocked Dhoni for backing players like R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma who have now become the core of Virat Kohli’s invincible test team. Dhoni reaped the benefit of the team created by Sourav Ganguly. Similarly, before leaving he has built the core of the team to make India champion team under Virat Kohli.
3.Making Fitness and fielding key criteria for team selection.
While watching cricket in the late 90s and the early 2000s, Indian cricket fans always rued about Indian fielding and fitness standards compared to what Aussies or Proteas had. Dhoni came and tinkered with Indian thought process of not giving importance to the fielding and especially of not giving importance to the fitness. He always stressed on the importance of the fitness. He created a furor in 2012 Australian series when he categorically mentioned that only two out of Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, and Sachin Tendulkar could be included in playing XI because of their inconsistency in the fielding. Merit and demerits of that decision can be debated but that sent a clear message to players eyeing a place in the team that fitness and fielding have become key criteria in the team’s selection. Dhoni himself led by example. He, all through his career, remained one of the fittest and fastest player on the pitch. The generation of players that came later are super fit and are among best fielders of the world with the new in-charge Virat Kohli leading in both department,
4.Unhurried approach to the game and assuredness of Champions
It is true to some extent that a captain is as good as his team but a captain certainly changes the way his team plays. Ricky Ponting and his team played firebrand cricket. Sourav Ganguly had aggression and that reflected in the attitude of his team. Anil Kumble had determination in his game and that reflected in his team. Who can forget that famous 2008 Perth test,
In the era of the aggressive brand of cricket, Dhoni brought an unhurried approach to the game. Before, Dhoni’s ascendency as captain, Indian team were jittery in big chases and nervous on big occasions. There were many occasion when India collapsed after being in good position. The panic button was pressed more often than needed. Dhoni dismantled the panic button of the team and gave a loud call for calmness. The situation gradually changed in years to come under his captaincy. From being a bad chaser, India became chase masters. In last two years of his captaincy, it was more because of Virat Kohli but Dhoni was not far behind when we check the record of last decade. In his tenure as captain, In 43 innings while chasing, Dhoni scored 1558 runs, for winning cause, at a staggering average of 91.64. The attitude of Dhoni rubbed off on players as well and Indian team under him possessed assuredness of Champions unlike the nervousness of underdogs earlier seen.
5.Stomach to take big unconventional decision
Last over to Joginder Sharma in 2007 T20 World Cup final, promoting himself ahead of in-form Yuvraj Singh in 2011 World Cup Final or giving over to most expensive bowler Ishant Sharma in the Champions trophy final when England was cruising and needed only 28 runs in three overs or the infamous decision of denying strike to Ambati Rayudu. He took unconventional decisions, backed it, and most often ended on the right side of it, bringing many laurels to India. Call him lucky, call him “The great gambler” or call him a genius, give him whatever name you like but you cannot deny that Dhoni had stomach for taking big unconventional decisions when stakes were high.
It is really the end of an era that gave many glorious days to the Indian cricket. When Dhoni was once asked question on managing old and young players. He answered, “From Kishore Kumar, we have gone to Sean Paul”. It goes for the captaincy too, we are moving from an ear of Kishore Kumar to Sean Paul.
Over to you Virat Kohli.
This article is also published here at sportskeeda.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going and when the going gets tough, the losers get chirping. After England’s Test series loss against India, it was not surprising to see James Anderson taking a dig at Virat Kohli’s failure in India’s tour of England in 2014. No one can deny that Virat Kohli failed in that tour and the fifth and sixth stump line of English bowlers bothered him but bringing that now when the Indian captain has decimated the English bowlers is a classic example of sour grapes.
Every cricket expert knows that Virat Kohli has changed his stance to negate the fifth and sixth stump line that consistently bothered him. One thing about Kohli that makes him great is that he admits his flaws and improves his technique to remove it from his game, unlike some bowlers who hide their inefficiencies by bringing up old stats of batsmen.
Let us now focus on the spearhead of the English bowling attack, James Anderson, who called out the ‘technical flaw’ of Virat Kohli and analyse what has he done to remove his own flaws.
Anderson is the highest wicket taker in Test cricket for England, but a quick look at his performance in this series, and he seemed nothing more than another ordinary bowler. He took just 4 wickets in 3 test matches whereas India’s Mohammed Shami picked up 10 wickets in the same conditions in the same number of matches.
It seems Anderson didn’t do much to iron out his own flaws of bowling in subcontinent pitches but as good hosts, we shall give him the benefit of doubt since he is 34 years of age and is marred by injuries, and hence must not have got time to iron out his flaws for this series.
He has had a long career spanning 13 years and has had a successful Test career, becoming one of the modern bowling greats. The Englishman has picked up 467 wickets in 122 matches at an average of 28.50, but a great bowler performs well irrespective of conditions. So let us see how Anderson fares in different conditions.
Anderson’s performance in seamer friendly pitches: Average
In New Zealand, where conditions are favourable for swing bowlers like Anderson, he has taken 18 wickets in 5 Test matches at an average of 36.27. Across the Tasman Sea in Australia, the Lancashire bowler has taken 43 wickets in 13 Test matches at an average of 38.44. In South Africa, again, conditions which suit bowlers like him, he has taken 25 wickets in 8 Test matches at an average of 39.92.
Going by these stats, it isn’t very impressive for England’s leading wicket taker in the backyard of fast bowlers, at best it can be considered as average performances.
In not so great conditions for fast bowlers, like in India, he has picked up 26 wickets in 10 Test matches at an average of 33.46, while in Sri Lanka, his record is 11 wickets in 4 matches at an average of 40.72. Again, nothing impressive here too.
Brilliant in home conditions
What is impressive is his performance at home, in England, where he has 296 wickets in 69 matches at a staggering average of 25.63.
He has 21 5-wicket hauls, out of which 17 have come in England and out of his three 10-wicket hauls, none have come outside England. The stats show that Anderson is an incredibly gifted bowler, capable of picking wickets at home, but away from the comforts of home conditions, the fast bowler’s record is average, at best.
The aim of dissecting the performance of James Anderson is not to put him down. He is one of the best bowlers of his generation and it takes great skill to swing the ball both ways or to make the ball reverse, which Anderson does consistently.
But the point here is to show that everyone needs to improve somewhere. Some players have to a great way to go, while others have smaller flaws. So, there is no point referring to a particular past statistic to bring Virat Kohli down.
It is worth noting that Virat Kohli has improved leaps and bounds since that 2014 tour and has become one of the best batsmen in the world. Barring performances in England in Test matches, the Indian captain has performed admirably everywhere and the best bowlers of his generation have found it difficult to outfox him.
Whether Kohli succeeds in England or not will be known only when India travels to England, but what we have learnt recently is that James Anderson has proved that he is a sore loser after his team were outplayed and out-thought comprehensively in this series.
Mr. Anderson, let the ball do the talking.
This post has also been published here at sportskeeda.
Virat Kohli has been phenomenal for India in the limited overs cricket. He is a match winner and his exploits while chasing targets in limited overs cricket is exceptional. Recently, many experts have started to use the term ‘Fab Four’ for the group of four fantastic batsmen – Steven Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root and Virat Kohli.They are also sometimes loosely termed as a modern great. The question here is: Is he really that good that he can be termed as modern great or be included in the ‘Fab Four’?
Kohli’s record in the limited overs cricket doesn’t leave us with any doubt about his greatness in the shorter format of the game, but what about his records in the test cricket ?
Virat Kohli averages 43.76 in 47 Test matches, which is good but not great. Kohli has cemented his place at No. 4 after the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, and in 27 Tests post the retirement of Tendulkar, Kohli averages 45.45. That is again good, but not great.Another defining moment in Virat Kohli’s career is when he got test captaincy after MS Dhoni decided to quit test cricket. Since becoming captain, he has played 15 Tests and averages 42.26 with 3 centuries and 2 half-centuries, which is again nothing home to write about.
Now let us compare Virat Kohli with his contemporaries.
In all test matches
Name No. of Tests Runs Average 100s 50s Innings per 50 plus score
Virat Kohli 47 3326 43. 76 12 12 3.33
Steven Smith 44 4099 58.55 15 17 2.53
Kane Williamson 53 4493 51.05 14 23 2.62
Joe Root 46 4005 54.86 10 22 2.625
Record at home of opponents
Name No. of Test Runs Average 100s 50s Innings per 50 plus score
Virat Kohli 28 2186 44.61 9 5 3.57
Steve Smith 22 2075 57.63 7 9 2.56
Kane Williamson 31 2564 47.48 9 12 2.76
Joe Root 15 1117 46.54 2 7 3.11
Record as Captain
Name No. of Test Runs Average 100s 50s
Virat Kohli 16 1228 49.12 5 2
Steve Smith 14 1559 74.23 7 6
Kane Williamson 5 456 76.00 1 4
Joe Root ** ** ** ** **
** Joe Root has not captained England in any Test Match.
From the stats above, it’s clear that Virat Kohli is lagging behind in Test cricket. When his overall record is compared with other three of ‘Fab Four’, he lags far behind in terms of average, runs or in the number of innings taken to score a 50 plus score.Same is the case when his records at away Test matches are scrutinized; apart from the famous Australian tour in 2014-15, he has not much to show.
The Indian greats vs Kohli.
The line of greatness hovers at around the batting average of 50 or above in Test cricket. On the eve of India’s 500th Test, many experts and ex-players picked India’s all-time Test XI. Everyone picked Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in their India’s all time XI.
Interestingly, all four averaged around or above 50 in the Test cricket. However, many did not pick VVS Laxman and Ganguly. Both of them, interestingly, averaged around or below 45 in Test cricket.
Virat Kohli, at present, averages 43.76 in Test cricket, which is far below the line of greatness, i.e., batting average of 50 or above.
Modern day great?
The 27-year-old’s Test record does not justify the tag of ‘Modern Day Great’. With the brilliance that Virat Kohli has shown in the limited overs cricket, his performances in Test cricket has left a lot to be desired.However, a player cannot be solely judged on stats. His record at away Test matches as well as his overall records, does not reflect the ability and the kind of talent that Virat Kohli possesses.
He certainly has the talent to be a ‘modern great’, because a player cannot have an average of 50 plus in ODI and a genius in limited overs cricket without having the ability to become a Test great.However, he certainly needs to pull up his performances in the Test cricket and it is more a question of when and not if he will do it.
Test Cricket is the ultimate battlefield, the ultimate Test, where greats of the game are born.If Virat Kohli wishes to be in the league of the greats of the game, he has to turn it around in Test cricket. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be doing justice to himself or his prodigious talent.
This article has also been published here at sportskeeda.