Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli
File picture

Mumbai: It hasn’t been a happy return to captaincy for Virat Kohli. He lost the toss, made the questionable call of not picking china-man Kuldeep Yadav in the playing XI, watched Joe Root become the first man to score a double hundred in his 100th Test match, Ben Stokes makes an attacking 82, saw his bowlers deliver a dozen no-balls and fielders drop catches.

One might argue that Kohli, the captain, that some of these things, like the no-balls and dropped catches were not in his control, but he certainly can’t get away with totally messing-up the use of Decision Review.

In the post-Covid-19 era, the International Cricket Council has given the luxury of three unsuccessful player reviews instead of two that were allowed below. This has been done to cover the fact that no neutral umpires are being deployed during the Tests these days. There was a time when the reviews available were restored after 90 overs but that rule was done away with when the teams started retaining reviews on Umpire’s Call.

Let’s look at the three occasions that Skipper Virat Kohli messed-up

Over Number: 107.4

Batsman: Ben Stokes on 31

Bowler: R Ashwin

England’s score: 313-3

India was desperate for a wicket as Stokes was taking the game away from them. Stokes brings out the reverse sweep and the ball hits his gloves and lands safely. But the Indians think that the ball had hit the pad first before hitting the gloves. Kohli asks for the review. The replay confirms that it's glove first. Stokes survives and India lose their first review. Surely, keeper, Rishab Pant should have played a bigger role in convincing Kohli not to take the review.

Over number: 108.2

Batsman: Joe Root on 147

Bowler: Shabaz Nadeem

England’s score: 313-3

Just four balls later Kohli chose to go to the third umpire once again. This too is for lbw against Root. Nadeem is in the middle of a good spell and he hits Root on the front pad as he tries to defend. Nadeem thinks that he has had his man and almost forces Kohli to consult the third umpire. Everything is fine, the ball has pitched in line, it has not taken the bat’s edge and it is hitting in front of the stumps. The trouble is it according to the ball-tracking technology it is bouncing above the stumps. And it’s another review lost.

Over number: 138.6

Batsman Ollie Pope on 11

Bowler: R Ashwin Pope 11

England’s score: 416-4

The desperation has grown further as they have now spent 139 overs in the field. Pope is looking unsettled but somehow surviving. He goes for a sweep but is early into the shot. The ball hits something and pops to leg-gully. Indians think it has hit the glove and go for a review. But according to the third-umpire the ball has missed the glove or the bat and hit the pad. So it’s not a catch. The umpire checks for an lbw but the ball is bouncing over the stumps. Great call from on-field umpire Anil Chaudhary. And India loses all three reviews available in an innings.

Post-script: India should have a wicket in the 164.3 overs when Washington Sundar did find an edge of Jose Buttler’s bat. But Chaudhary gave it not-out. As the replays showed, the Indians were right the ball did catch an edge. They pleaded and pleaded but Chaudhary had made his call and India had no review left. Such is life!

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