If you would have asked any cricket pundit, journalist or a fan, to pick two Indian batsmen for England vs India 2014, they would have picked Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. After these two proved their metal in South Africa and New Zealand, the whole build-up of England vs India 2014 revolved around these two. From television advertisements to newspaper headlines; these two Indian batsmen were everywhere. There were huge expectations, and all Indian fans were relying heavily on these two young pillars of Team India.
But, after 7 innings, neither batsman has anything to smile about. Dhoni’s two most reliable batsmen have failed 7 times in a row, and this has hurt India badly. There’s no doubt that, it’s just a matter one inning, but this “one inning” has taken too long. Star players, other than their defined roles in the team, also have a huge impact on the dressing room. It sends a very weak message to the dressing room, when two of the most technically-equipped batsmen in the team struggle in the middle.
Kohli and Pujara both got a few starts, but they haven’t been able to convert these starts. And, this is very uncharacteristic of these two. English bowlers have exploited these two by bowling in the corridor of uncertainty, and even after 7 innings, both Kohli and Pujara have no answer.
A lot has been said and written about the technical flaws in their batting and how they can improve. But, in my opinion, it’s more of a mental block that most Indian batsmen develop against swinging conditions, and there’s obviously the pressure of doing well in England. But, having said that, both Kohli and Pujara are more than just a good batsman. Although, they are still very young in Test cricket, they have impressed one and all with their class and technique.
It would be just fair to say that these two have disappointed many pundits and fans, but they still have 3 more innings to show they are capable of. It’s important that these two don’t take too much advice and just play their natural game.
All the Indian fans would be hoping that their two most reliable batsmen regain their touch and score some runs.