Another week goes by but one thing that remains constant is the incessant chatter be it from the players or the fans outside. Everyone has an opinion, and the last week was full of cricketing action too, which provided us with a lot of interesting content for this week's - Overreaction Monday
Virat Kohli hits out at critics
Just ahead of the ODI series opener, the Indian skipper took on the critics and slammed them stating there's a 'lot of impatience outside the cricket setup’ and we know 'how to manage a player going through a tough patch.'
SC's Take: First of all, Virat Kohli, who's been playing international cricket since 2008, yes, that's a long time, it's hard to decipher why he hasn't come in terms with the critics just as yet. Criticism from the outside has been there for ages and will be there for time immemorial as well. So, Kohli needs to stop taking everything personally as if it's exclusive to him and the Indian team only. No doubt, at times, there are some pretty bizarre opinions as well from the outside, but turning everything into 'us vs them', over and again, seems a bit too reactive from him.
Secondly, hitting out at others for being impatient from Virat Kohli is like Shane Warne calling out others for acting like a cheerleader in the commentary box. One of the most common themes of Kohli's captaincy has been playing musical chairs with players as after a few bad displays, players have been dropped, even those, who have been given public backing of the skipper. The instance of KL Rahul in the T20I series being the latest. From being a 'champion' player to dropping the champion player in a few days, no one else but Kohli did it. Also, India's first-choice opening pair changed in the span of five T20Is against England. Patience, eh?
The drop KL Rahul brigade
Fans had started calling for the ouster of KL Rahul from the ODIs as well after he performed poorly in the T20I series, suggesting Rishabh Pant to take over the gloves.
SC's Take: KL Rahul from being India's man for all positions and seasons to becoming India's vice-captain for white-ball tour of Australia to getting dropped from the T20I side the very next series, it's been a roller coaster journey, albeit, not his most favourite. After scores of 1, 0, 0 and 14, Rahul was dropped for the series-deciding T20I. Rahul was earlier undroppable not only because he was batting brilliantly but also as he was keeping wickets. In the T20Is, however, it was Rishabh Pant, who not only batted well but kept wickets neatly too and that led to calls for snubbing Rahul from the ODIs as well.
Now, it was a complete case of mixing formats. Very conveniently, his exceptional ODI run in the middle-order was forgotten. In lead up to the ODIs against England, Rahul, from the point of time, started batting in the middle-order, was averaging 56.57 with a strike-rate of 111.23, crossing the 50-run-mark four out of eight times. He was lacking game time, and the moment he got that, he shunned his critics in style scoring 62*, 108 and 7 in the England series. It's high time that people stop mixing formats especially with players they were swooning on, just some time back. World of glory hunters, or petty keyboard warriors, you decide.
Question marks on England's aggressive approach
After starting off rapidly against India in the first ODI, England suffered a freak collapse and couldn't close in the game after which their aggressive approach in white-ball cricket was questioned.
SC's Take: England are world champions. They have been the best ODI side since the 2015 World Cup debacle. It was a very well planned and coordinated approach from the Three Lions to adopt a dynamic approach and back it with full conviction after their outdated approach had left them far behind. And it resulted in the 2019 World Cup win as well. Now, despite all this, questioning their approach, and expecting them to change it because of an odd poor game, was some overreaction. It has been my way or the highway approach for the English side and that's what has worked for them as well.
And just in the second game, their approach to attack and put the opposition under pressure helped them beat India black and blue. It was some statement and a great answer to all the critics as they chased down 337 with utmost ease, not to forget 39 balls to spare. There was a five overs phase in England's innings when they pummeled 87 and were simply unstoppable. Also, England are already well versed with the art of adjusting, after all, the World Cup wasn't the highest scoring yet they won. If anything, the world's no.1 ODI side have the best flexible approach to things, which is a lesson for all the other teams. It's that approach that has got them glory, so why change really when it isn't broken?
Virender Sehwag questions Hardik Pandya's workload
Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag hit out at India's workload management of Hardik Pandya and even suggested that he might well have himself asked the team management not to bowl so that he remains injury-free ahead of the IPL.
SC's Take: "Maybe he might have said that he will not bowl 10 overs in ODI cricket because if I get injured I might have to miss IPL." This part of Virender Sehwag's statement was one of the most bizarre parts as it suggested that Hardik Pandya put IPL over the country, which is questionable without the former Indian cricketer knowing what's exactly going on in the dressing room. Such assumptions aren't fitting for someone of Sehwag's stature, having already made one regarding Glenn Maxwell.
Now, it was indeed confusing why Hardik Pandya was bowling in T20Is and not ODIs. However, Virat Kohli cleared that they were looking to manage his workload as he might well play the England Tests as an all-rounder. So, still to come out and question the same thing again was not the most sensible thing. The matter of fact remains that this is a World Cup year and no one matches Hardik Pandya as a package or even comes close to him.
The ongoing series is largely irrelevant and not rushing him to bowl 10 overs just after a T20I series where he bowled a lot, after a long time, is the way to go forward given India doesn't need to risk him at all. Also, there might well be a case of his body not responding well to bowling in the T20Is and India taking precaution after that. So, such sweeping statements for someone who has been an integral part of the set-up doesn't bode well.