Sunday, February 26, 2017

An Epic Backfire

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One of the most refreshing aspects of Virat Kohli as a sportsman has been his willingness to feed off cricket crazy fans. While those before him at times seemed bogged down by misreading the adulation as "unreasonable expectations" to win every game, Virat Kohli has openly stated that his team will play every game to win and engages with the crowd urging them to egg his team on. 

Those who came before him were willing , for the most part, to grind the opposition down by putting up runs on the board and slowly chipping away at the opposition batsmen and wait for the wicket to naturally deteriorate and go for the kill. This seemed to the Indian Template. Where runs on the board created the pressure in the absence of genuine fast balling and Tests, that appeared to head nowhere suddenly got alive on the last day. 

Most Indian batsmen know how to play on these wickets. When India's own batsmen struggle at home and collapse in consecutive innings one has to wonder if the pitch was a factor. Nathan Lyon is an accomplished spinner and India have lost to him in Adelaide not too long ago. Steve O'Keefe had shown promise in the one Test he played on Australia's recent horror tour of Sri Lanka. Neither are this good though. To knock India out 2 innings in succession in India.

Kohli is the kind of sportsman that most fans of my generation: who grew up watching cricket in the late 70s and 80s, yearned for. A bad ass, no nonsense leader who wants to cleanse Indian teams of their infuriating tendency to seek personal milestones on the road to victory. A trait that has plagued the team for decades. 

However his tendency to seek wins by controlling the pitch curating process is off putting. Not just because it sometimes backfires to humiliate like it did in Pune but it's not how most fans want to see India win.