Indian Captain Virat Kohli and Head Coach Ravi Shastri are likely to face BCCI questioning after the team’s resigned performance in the first Two tests against England. The Number 1 test team in the world suffered an embarrassing loss by an innings and 159 runs at Lords after a severe batting collapse on the Day 4 of the test.
The duo will be under scrutiny for their team management and will be answerable for the dismal performances of the batsmen in the concluded games. They will face questions after the conclusion of the 3rd Test at Trent Bridge from August 18-22. The teams for the 4th and the 5th tests will also depend on the team’s performance in the Nottingham test.
BCCI scheduled the limited overs games against Ireland and England before the team could play red ball cricket. A “shadow tour” of the India A team was simultaneously sent to play in England which accommodated Test batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay to help acclimatize with the playing conditions.
“The Indian team can’t complain that they were not given enough time to prepare. When we lost the South Africa series, the players spoke about tight scheduling and lack of practice games. It was after speaking to them that we decided that white ball matches will be held before the Tests,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
The official’s comments indicate the BCCI’s discontent with the team’s performances. The batting collapse in both the matches would be under review. Except for the captain, no player has crossed the half-century mark in the four innings. Kohli produced an outstanding century to anchor the team to a competitive total in the first innings of the first test at Edgbaston. In the Lords test, R Ashwin top-scored for the team in both innings with scores of 29 and 33 with the team being bowled out inside 50 overs in both innings. Also, under discussion would be Virat Kohli’s team selection. His ‘tinkering tactics’ that began in the matches against Ireland, do not seem to be bearing fruit against the home team. His decision to replace opener Shikhar Dhawan and inclusion of wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav on the grassy track of Lords were questioned by the commentators and experts.
Also, under the radar are batting coach Sanjay Bangar and fielding coach R Sridhar. Former Australian cricketer and commentator Ian Chappell has criticised the Indian team fielding techniques, especially in the slips.
It is worthy to note that with similarly embarrassing results in the 2014 Test matches in England, the BCCI replaced Duncan Fletcher’s appointed bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penny ahead of the ODIs. This was also when Ravi Shastri was appointed to the newly created position of Team Director.
Some news reports also claim the carte blanche power held by the duo might be restricted. Sunil Gavaskar has long suggested that a member of the National Selection Committee accompany the team for away tours to maintain balance in the team decisions like the Australian Cricket team does.