India start a new chapter with Virat as leader

SansadTV Bureau

virat_criThe series is out of bounds but Indian cricket is all set to enter a new era under the feisty Virat Kohli, whose leadership would be put through a trial by fire when the visitors seek redemption in the fourth and final cricket Test against Australia starting in Sydney on Tuesday.

Down 0-2 in the series, India has already lost the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after the third Test in Melbourne ended in a draw. Besides, India were dealt quite a shock when skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni chose to quit Test cricket altogether.

This led to Kohli’s elevation as captain and it would be interesting to see how the outspoken and flamboyant batsman, who has scored three hundreds in the series so far, handles the pressure of leading the side and salvage some pride in the series.

As such this is India’s sixth consecutive Test series loss playing overseas, a run that stretches back to the England tour in 2011.

It is only the second time in their long history that India has suffered such embarrassment, the first stretching from their debut Test in England in 1932 to their maiden tour of West Indies in 1955. However, when the first ball is bowled in Sydney, future and not history will be on the visitors’ mind.

It has been almost a month since Kohli did the job so ably at the Adelaide Oval, nearly carrying the team to victory on the back of his two hundreds in that match.

Given the thankless nature of this job, he will perhaps soon realise that his bat might not always be the answer to all his problems.

For there is a big task facing Kohli as he steps on to the plate now as India’s new Test skipper, now in a permanent role.

Dhoni’s run as captain in overseas Test cricket has been marred by his team’s inability to take 20 wickets. It is the singular reason for this recent poor record and has evolved in this calendar year as India’s inability to grab their chances and latch on to moments that could win them a Test match.