Dubai: It came as no surprise when New Zealand drove the last nail in India’s coffin in the second Test in Christchurch - completing a 2-0 sweep of the Test series on Monday morning. The result may not have changed India’s rankings in the World Test Championship, where they continue to be at the top with 360 points - but it has surely dented the pride of Virat Kohli’s men who were on a high coming into the tour.
Let’s get the facts straight on this - New Zealand have always proved to be quite a handful at home - with much more illustrious batting line-ups from India coming a cropper on wickets so green that it was often difficult to distinguish it with the outfield. The question, however, begs to be asked if India were mentally prepared enough for the challenge or just took it as yet another bilateral series squeezed into an already packed schedule?
‘‘The New Zealanders are so nice that one cannot think of revenge against them,” Kohli announced with a smile on arriving in New Zealand in reference to their shock loss at the hands of Kiwis in the semi-finals of ICC World Cup last year. A month and two comprehensive series losses to them later (3-0 in the One-day Internationals and 2-0 in Tests), Kohli was clearly a frustrated man - his own miserable form with the bat not helping his mood either.
Over the last few days of Christchurch Test, Kohli gave ample evidence of still not being able to do his ‘anger management’ - something he ought to have learnt after being in the hot seat for six years now. A tweet from New Zealand Cricket, which shows Kohli breaking into an expletive at a group of fans after the dismissal of Kane Williamson in the first innings was certainly out of order, while his intimidatory approach in response to a journalist’s question in the post-match press conference has also gone viral after the defeat.
It’s not difficult to point a finger towards his sour mood - it’s difficult to remember when did Kohli last have the scorelines of 2,19,3 and 14 in a Test series. It’s now more than 20 innings that Kohli has gone without a century - a conundrum which the best batsman of the world had confronted way back in the 2014 Test series in England.
A close look at his mode of dismissals. refer to a faulty angle which Kohli’s bat is coming down while facing deliveries - not leaving him ample time to withdraw from the line of delivery in case of a late movement. The master batsman that he is, Kohli can certainly go back to the drawing board and find a solution to the problem - but he needs to get a grip over his implosive nature fore anything else.
It’s not rocket science to understand that if a team manage scores of 165, 191, 242 and 124 - then they cannot expect to win a series - notwithstanding the hard work by the team’s fast bowlers.
It was a case of the world No.1 Test team being outplayed in all departments!