India's 28-run capitulation against England in Hyderabad yesterday was a bitter pill to swallow for Indian cricket fans. With a 190-run first innings lead and seemingly in control, the hosts imploded spectacularly on Day 4, succumbing to debutant Tom Hartley's 7-wicket haul in an extended final session. Ollie Pope's audacious 196 in England's second innings was the catalyst for the dramatic turnaround.
He neutralized India's vaunted spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja, playing attacking strokes on a turning pitch. His knock gave India a target of 231, achievable but tricky on a deteriorating surface. India's chase started well, but another middle-order collapse, inexplicable shot selection and a failure to stitch partnerships saw wickets tumbling as Hartley exposed vulnerabilities in the batting order.
Skipper Rohit Sharma's 39 was the highest score, highlighting the collective failure. Post the game, there was a lot of scrutiny on the captaincy of Rohit Sharma, who pundits felt was defensive during Englan'ds second innings. Early in England's second innings, Rohit's field placements leaned heavily towards containment, with fielders stifling attacking strokes. This, against a confident lineup, proved counterproductive, allowing them to accumulate runs freely. A few of Rohit's bowling rotations, particularly after tea on Day 3, were also questioned.
"In a few years time, we will miss Kohli-the captain"
Former Indian cricketer, Aakash Chopra's past tweet has rekindled the fires of debate following Team India's recent Test match loss. The tweet, posted before Virat Kohli relinquished the captaincy, predicted that "those criticizing Kohli's leadership will one day miss his tactical genius." In the aftermath of the defeat in Hyderabad, the prophecy-like tweet is being widely circulated and dissected.
"I have a feeling that in a few years time we will miss Kohli-the captain. All those who are criticising his leadership skills now will appreciate and admire his tactical genius…," he had written in the Tweet which was posted back in October 2021.
Fans are commenting on the tweet, saying that the words have indeed come true. Kohli's Test captaincy records speak for themselves and he is still India's most successful test captain by a fair distance.