Former England captain Nasser Hussain believes the current Team India isn’t a side to be ‘bullied’, as their captain Virat Kohli will give it right back to the opposition. Hussain said although Kohli might not be popular among international teams or their fans, he’s the ‘right man at the right time’ to lead India.
Hussain penned these observations in his column for The Daily Mail in the backdrop of India’s 151-run win over England in the hard-fought Lord’s Test. He further cited the example of India’s triumph Down Under last year, saying it was this fire that helped them tide over the Australians at the Gabba.
“Virat Kohli is the right man at the right time to lead this formidable India side. His players, in particular the bowlers, want an aggressive captain. They want Kohli stirring things up, as he did so effectively in that brilliant second Test at Lord’s… This India are not a side who will be bullied, as perhaps previous generations have been.”
“They wouldn’t allow themselves to be bullied by Aussie players or crowds — when Tim Paine said, “Wait until we get you to the Gabba”, it just spurred them on. And nothing England can do will bully them now even if Chris Silverwood has said he will fight Indian fire with fire for the rest of this series,” said Nasser Hussain.
The cricketer-turned pundit admitted that Virat Kohli gets carried away sometimes and needs some reminding that he doesn’t ‘run the game’. Hussain, though, added that Kohli is simply a representation of ‘modern-day’ Indians who aren’t pushovers anymore, saying.
“Kohli’s aggression is aimed at winding up the opposition, and he gets under the skin of every team he plays against. I’m sure most don’t particularly like playing against him, and English supporters won’t particularly like him, but he won’t care a jot about that… Yes, he can push the line. At times it doesn’t look great, but, as I said last week, I like to see passion and controlled aggression from cricketers.”
“What Kohli in particular represents is modern-day India, the one that won’t be pushed around. Even though umpires might like to remind him occasionally that he doesn’t run the game,” Nasser Hussain added.
“Virat Kohli is putting so much into the captaincy, it has taken something away from his batting” – Nasser Hussain
Nasser Hussain also talked about Virat Kohli’s batting woes in the series. He noted that in his all-out efforts to win a Test series in England as captain, Virat Kohli has let his guard down as a batsman.
“You could argue that Kohli is putting so much into the captaincy of India now in his pursuit of a first Test series win in England as captain that it has taken something away from his batting. He seems vulnerable again outside off-stump, as he was when he played here in 2014,” said Hussain.
“Certainly, he got out after a nothing shot to a wide ball from Sam Curran at Lord’s, and the Kohli of the 2018 tour would have left that. But he knows how much it will mean to India to win this series. And he will judge himself on the results of the next three Tests rather than the runs he scores. He’d certainly be gutted if he scored centuries at Leeds and the Oval but lost the series anyway,” Hussain added.
India and England will clash in the third Test of the five-match series at Headingley on Wednesday, August 25.