The biggest Test series of the year and the highlight of English summer is all set to kick start from today at Birmingham. But the biggest question that arises ahead of the series is whether skipper Virat Kohli will be able to join the select band of the Indian skippers who have won a Test series in England? Can they overcome the England side in their own backyard and win the five-Test series?
Ajit Wadekar, Kapil Dev and Rahul Dravid are the only captains to have led the Indian side to a Test series win in England. The World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev, besides leading India to their first World Cup victory in 1983, led the side to victory in two Test series in 1986. While Wadekar and Dravid-led teams won one Test each in 1971 and 2007 respectively.
On the other hand, Sourav Ganguly is the only Indian skipper to have drawn a series in England in 2002. Therefore, despite pundits saying that the present Indian team is one of the best ever in terms of talent, Kohli has a tough task at hand. But, by far, this is the best side to visit the English country since Graeme Smith’s South Africa in 2012. Half of India’s team has been in England for almost a month, playing in T20Is and ODI series against the hosts. Though India won T20 comfortably but were outplayed by England in the ODI series.
However, now, the team is struggling with their top order, especially Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan and fast bowlers and looking at this, seems like Kohli has big job to get done. Dhawan’s form is a real worry as he has been dropped in previous overseas Test series. Kohli will hope his wrist spinner (Kuldeep Yadav) would trouble the hosts on the flattish wickets but looks like the Englishmen have found a technique to have worked them out. Yadav has now been included in the Indian Test squad but one really wonders if he will be played ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, after his latest ODI performances. But to note, Kohli is not one who plays for a draw and surely will try hard to win the series.
And looking at the team and their last few performances, we should keep our fingers crossed.