India vs England: Virat Kohli needs a dash of stability

August 30, 2018 - rahul

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With the series at a crucial stage, this is an apt time to understand his captaincy. Here are a few questions about his leadership style: Why does he chop and change so much? Why does he believe so much in horses for courses that he takes the risk of plausibly infusing self-doubt, if not insecurity, in his men?

Drop Bhuvneshwar Kumar, despite stupendous performances in the Test before, because he thinks a hard track might not suit him. Drop Ajinkya Rahane in South Africa because of perception that Rohit Sharma was in form. R. Ashwin was kept away for long puzzling periods at Lord’s because he thought conditions might not suit him. Most of his team changes — and injuries have certainly played their part, as he reminded on Wednesday — probably stem from this macro-management that revolves around flexibility.

Of all the aspects that this series has spilled out, the orientalism of English cricket and the westernisation of India top the list. At the start of the series, England were looking to ageing stars to shoulder them; India were cutting down the stature of their stars by chopping and changing.

As we approach the climactic phase, England have turned even more east in their approach. On a pitch that’s reputed to have spongy bounce, they have replaced Ollie Pope with Moeen Ali, who hit a double hundred in a county game recently. It remains to be seen how this plays out.

Moeen has been susceptible to bouncers in the past and moreover, Ishant Sharma has been terrific against left-handers in this series. Will his inclusion end up weakening the batting even more?

rahul

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