Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara Successors to Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid? Geoffrey Boycott Has His Doubts
India's defeat in the Test series in England was a collective batting failure but Geoffrey Boycott blames Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara particularly for their sheer inability to counter England bowlers.
Touted as the future of Indian cricket, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara had enormous responsibility to lead Indian batting in all formats of cricket. Against England in the recently concluded Tests though, the stalwarts of young India were a pale shadow of their formidable repute. Such was their shoddy showing that former England captain Geoffrey Boycott questioned their comparisons with legends Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. (Also read: Is girlfriend's presence pegging Kohli down?)
While the entire Indian batting lineup fumbled as the tourists lost the five-match series 1-3, Boycott felt Kohli and Pujara were particularly guilty. "We were led to believe that these two would take the places vacated by Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, respectively, and those are some pretty big shoes to fill," he wrote in his column for gocricket.com. "That is why we have been amazed at the way their form seems to have completely abandoned them. Consider this sequence of scores from the two stars: Pujara has scored 28, 43, 24, 2, 0, 17, 4 and 11. Kohli has 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0, 7, 6 and 20." (Complete coverage of England vs India)
According to Boycott, the main reason for the poor scores from both batsmen is that the two have repeated their mistakes. "What has been truly disappointing is the way these two gifted young men have repeated their mistakes. Kohli is clearly unaware of his off stump and has been fishing constantly, which you simply can't do against the moving ball, and Pujara's dismissals have been embarrassing, to be honest."
The former Yorkshire batsman also said he felt that Kohli and Pujara have been unable to fight past some quality bowling attack in England. "Both Pujara and Kohli have come up against high-quality seam bowling in unfamiliar and, for them, unpleasant conditions. That technical problem, coupled with their mental state, has contributed to their current poor run," he wrote.
Interestingly though, Kohli finally showed some of his famed abilities with the bat when he scored 72 in a practice one-day match against Middlesex. While Pujara may not be part of India's squad for the limited overs series, Kohli will get more chances with five ODIs and a T20 against England, starting August 25.