During the press conference immediately after England beat India by 227 runs on Tuesday in Chennai, captain Virat Kohli made it clear that although England played well, to assume that England are better prepared than India on their home soil is an exaggeration. India’s loss in Chennai was the fourth straight loss they have endured under Kohli, and their first at the venue since 1999.
The loss has once again brought Kohli’s captaincy under scrutiny, even though former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar feels there was no ‘tactical blunder’ by India, including the team selection, which the commentator didn’t have a problem with. Manjrekar however did reckon Kohli could have gotten a few things better to change the outcome of the match.
“I wouldn’t say India had bad tactics or they blundered on tactics. Team selection I think was fair. People are talking about Kuldeep Yadav now because Shahbaz Nadeem hasn’t bowled well. This was a tailor-made pitch for him,” Manjrekar said on ESPNCricinfo.
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“Tactically, the small parts of the game where Washington Sundar I think bowled the wrong line to begin with. He is a great guy to bowl outside off stump and when he did that, it troubled the opposition batsmen. That’s where Virat Kohli is a little hard to understand, with his overall strategy and team selection.”
Manjrekar highlighted Nadeem’s example as an area where Kohli could have been a bit more proactive. The left-arm spinner didn’t have the best of matches and although he did pick up four wickets in the game, Nadeem was a bit of a disappointment given the nature of the pitch, on which his counterpart Jack Leach picked up six wickets, including impressive returns of 4/76 in India’s second innings.
“His first few overs (Nadeem), he had two people on the drive. Maybe the bowlers weren’t allowed to begin with to bowl to the field that he wanted. But more than tactics, India’s ability in this match fell short and they would want to make amends in the second Test. Tactically, England were superior but I won’t say that India blundered tactically,” Manjrekar added.