On a Sunday afternoon, as Virat Kohli lay flat on the ground, getting treatment for a recurring lower back injury, one could only feel sad for him. He banged his clenched fist on the turf in frustration. It was clear that along with him, India was down and out in the test series against England.
They say that a captain is only as good as his team. The second test at the home of cricket – Lord’s – was clearly a sign that a defeatist mentality was creeping in into the Indian team. It hurts the fans even more since we are the number 1 test team in the world.
A look at the recent record of the Indian team in overseas tests, gives a clear picture.
In the five Tests they have played on their tours of South Africa and England in the past nine months, India have scored more than 300 just once and have been dismissed for less than 200 six times. Their average total is 188.7.
While Kohli has averaged 52.60 over these five Tests, none of the other specialist batsmen has averaged more than 20.
The Indian top order is going through an extended patch of poor form and apart from the captain. Kohli has got two centuries and two half-centuries, but there has been just one other 50+ score by an India batsman, by Cheteshwar Pujara in Johannesburg.
Stats don’t lie, or give an unclear picture. What it means is that while the Indian bowling attack has struck gold more often than not in the recent times, the batting has let the team down. India lost the first test at Trent Bridge from a position of strength and that too after getting a rather smallish target to get.
Captain Kohli has been leading from the front, scoring more than 50% of India’s runs since some time now, but the rest of the batters have failed to rally around him, or even provide enough support by at least staying at the crease. It has sadly been Virat Kohli and not India versus the rest of the world.
A despondent Indian team at Lord’s
No team has ever succeeded without teamwork and collective effort, despite of brilliant individual performances. While these individual performances can take a team to success now and then and ensure the team is out of the funk whenever a crisis looms, but to get consistent about winning, it is only team effort that works.