Wow! What a match! This will go down in the history of Indian Cricket as one of the closest matches we ever lost. To be honest, I don’t think this England is as strong or mighty as the 2014 one. If I had to place my money on one team to win the series, I would chose India, even after this minor setback. Still, coming back to this match, it really belonged to several individuals. Let’s be honest, India would have been handed an innings defeat if it wasn’t for Virat Kohli, and England would have surely lost had Ben Stokes not taken that one very important wicket of Kohli. Another characteristic was that lots and lots of catches were dropped. The likes of Dawid Malan and Shikhar Dhawan must pull up their socks if they are to remain in their sides.
Sam Curran – Like Father, Like Son
Well, the likes of Peter and Kasper Shmeichel might be the most popular pair who come under that saying, but Sam Curran has proved that he is no less. His father, Kevin Curran also played cricket for Zimbawe (The family lived in Zimbabwe till they were forced to migrate to England) but he never came close to performing as well for his team as his son. In the first innings, Sam’s last wicket partnership made the difference, while in the second innings, he was the top scorer for his team. Superman would be shocked at how he rescued his team from a position of utter despair. Not only that, but this all-rounder took the 4 wickets that mattered the most in the first innings, and also broke the rhythm of the batsmen with his excellent bowling in the second innings. At the end of the match he deservedly became the youngest English player ever to win a Man Of Match award. He’s only 20!
All Hail The King!
Before this match, we used to refrain from calling Virat Kohli the king of modern cricket because of his poor record in England, but now, after his single-handed performance in both the innings, he can be called so deservedly. I mean, scores of 149 and 51 where the second highest score is 26, is not a task which goes without appreciation. Just to give you an idea of how much the Indian team depended on him, he scored 200 out of the 436 runs the team scored. That’s like 46% of the whole score. 1 player scoring 46% of the runs, and the other 10 are scoring 54%. That’s shameful.
What India Should Do…..
The moment I was informed that Pujara was not playing, I knew something was going to be wrong. Not playing Pujara was the biggest mistake India made. He knows how to handle these kinds of situations, and he also plays county cricket. So when the other players were having fun in the IPL, he was toiling it out on the English pitches to get used to the conditions, just so he could play well in this series. So for me, India’s first step should be to get him back in the side at the expense of either Vijay, Rahul or Rahane. Secondly, Shami could be replaced by Jadeja or Kuldeep Yadav. Getting Jadeja in would beef up the batting, but Kuldeep has an X-Factor to his bowling and he has proved on several occasions that he deserves to play. Ashwin took 7 wickets. That means that the pitches will support spin as well, so we need a second spinner. I think Kuldeep would be the better option but the coach and captain should make the right decision.