Virat Kohli can learn from mistakes Aussies made

first_imgThis is going to be one long celebration weekend for the Englishmen as Alastair Cook’s boys played fearless and entertaining cricket to grab back the Ashes urn at Trent Bridge on Saturday.As much as one saw the bubbly flow at the venue and elsewhere for the cheering hosts, there were quiet tears being shed by Australian captain Michael Clarke, whose decision to retire from Test cricket after the last match at The Oval was on expected lines.For someone who has served Australian cricket so durably and as recently as March won the ICC World Cup, this series in England turned out to be a disastrous one. He has worn the Baggy Green with pride but if the 34-year-old Clarke is going to reflect on his last away tour, memories can only be painful.To have scored close to 8,700 runs in 114 Tests with an average close to 50, Clarke didn’t once look the inspirational captain the world has known him to be. To compare Test cricket as hard as the Ashes with the World Cup would be wrong, yet the comparison has to be made as it was the same Clarke who turned the Aussie campaign around at home at the start of the year.A captain is known as much for his wins at home as for the way he marshals his resources abroad. And this Aussie side was not just brittle, it was devoid of ideas as to how cricket should be played in conditions where the ball seams so much.advertisementAgreed, Test cricket has become harder and run scoring more brisk but one stills need batsmen who can apply themselves and stay at the wicket. Cricketers like Steve Waugh and Ian Healy showed grit and gumption when Australia were in trouble. Sadly in this series, we could not see one Aussie batsman show application which reflected in their dismissal for 60 runs in the first innings at Trent Bridge.When one is going to score so low, even miracles by the bowlers cannot help, which is why Australia are going to be weighed down by tons of criticism back home. It is a cruel world these days when social media scans every inch of action and comments like ‘Australia A should be sent to play in the Ashes’ revealed the inner hurt of the Aussie fans.Clarke’s handling of Shane Watson was also not the best as this guy could have hung around boldly.Quite often, old timers who have played cricket at the highest level will engage in conversation over the behaviour of the red cherry and how technique is crucial for a batsman. The Aussies use the Kookabura ball at home and in England it’s the Duke, which assists seam movement.The Aussie batting line-up did not adjust to this movement and dismissals were cheap with Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Ben Stokes and Mark Wood catching the eye. Anderson, however, did not play at Trent Bridge.When we criticise the Indian Test team for its inability to win matches overseas, the debate is about how a side looks champion stuff at home and then stutters abroad.The same today can be said about Australia as well since they won the Ashes so easily at home in 2013-14 and now look a rag-tag side.Moving on, there are lessons for Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli in The Ashes when they take on the Sri Lankans starting next week. Kohli and his supporters have spoken about playing aggressive cricket, looking to take 20 wickets and so on. Yet, the fact remains in Test cricket batsmen have to show willingness to stay in the middle and scoring runs is sometimes not as important as durability at the crease.This is Kohli’s first full series as Test captain and though he did not do badly in Australia, the big test is now. Very recently, the Pakistan side did the job in Lanka and Kohli knows there are people watching him closely.In the past, when MS Dhoni was the captain and the team did badly in away Test series, critics came down on him like a ton of bricks. ‘Sack Dhoni’ was a chant which would reach a crescendo now and then.Kohli has has had a bad run with the bat in recent times but conditions in Sri Lanka will be to his liking. On paper, the Lankan bowling looks mediocre but one cannot take them for granted and batsmen like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have their task cut out.advertisementThe duo has the technical wherewithal to bat like true Test pedigree where throwing the bat at the ball will be suicidal. Aussie batsmen floundered in technique and Kohli would do well to have a chat with his boys so that the puzzle of Test victories abroad can be answered.s.kannan@mailtoday.inlast_img

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