India head coach Ravi Shastri heaped praise on skipper Virat Kohli after India cruised to a thumping 203-run victory against England on Wednesday to breathe life in the five-match Test series.
With India pulling things back at Nottingham with a dominant all-round display, England lead 2-1 with two matches to go. Only Don Bradman’s Australia have managed to make a comeback from being 0-2 down to win a five-match series in the history of Test cricket.
Kohli, not for the first time in his career was mentioned in the same breath as the connoisseurs of the game. “He (Kohli) is very passionate about the game. He loves batting, he loves to do the hard yards. His work ethics are second to none,” Shastri said during an interview with former England captain and broadcaster Michael Atherton. “Haven’t seen any cricketer, I’ll put [batting great Sachin] Tendulkar in it as well, in the way he visualizes situations,” Shastri added.
Kohli’s stunning run of form continued at Trent Bridge. He completed his second century in the series and finished with an aggregate of 200 runs in the match, a feat that he managed in the first Test at Edgbaston as well.
Shastri is now certain that the 29-year-old’s run glut will continue: “I promise you, he (Kohli) will forget these two innings now and take guard again as if he hadn’t scored a run in the series.”
‘Best travelling side in the world’
Shastri, who was under pressure before the game after his side’s meek surrender at Lord’s, insisted that the current side can change the course of India’s record in unfamiliar conditions.
“I think this side can be the best travelling side in the world,” Shastri said. “It’s going to be tough (to change this XI) for the next game. In the four years that I have been doing this job, especially overseas, I haven’t seen a more clinical performance.”
After picking up 60 wickets in the South Africa series, the Indian pacers did their reputation no harm with yet another sparkling display. In all-rounder Hardik Pandya, the visitors found an unlikely bowling hero in the first innings. Despite fine performances from senior pacers Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah stole the thunder in the second innings, picking up his second five-wicket haul in a Test career that that has lasted only four matches.
Shastri said, “This is the best group of fast bowlers India have ever had by a mile including the bench strength as well. Emphasis has been on fielding. If you look at the ODI side, it has been the best fielding side India has had, ever. The idea is to get the Test side also in same frame of mind as well.”
“I said at the press conference that there wasn’t a negative bone in the team and I mean it. We came out here to win this Test match, it’s about applying yourself. It’s about executing your plans in the best possible method and they did it magnificently.”
The third Test between the two teams starts at August 30 at Southampton’s Rose Bowl.