IND vs ENG: I think Virat Kohli will step down from captaincy if India lose second Test, feels Monty Panesar

Former England cricketer Monty Panesar feels Virat Kohli’s captaincy might come under the radar if India fail to bounce in the second Test starting from February 13. Playing their first international fixture at home since the Covid-19 hiatus, Virat Kohli and his boys failed miserably against Joe Root’s England and went down by 227 runs in the opening encounter of the four-match series. 

“Virat Kohli is one of the greatest batsmen of all-time. But the team is simply not doing well under him and we have the result in the last four Test that India played under him. I think Kohli will be under pressure and more now because Rahane has done phenomenally well as the captain. India have already lost four Tests in a row and if the number goes to five in the next match, then I think he will step down from his role,” Monty Panesar told WION in an exclusive interaction after the end of first Test.  

Panesar also criticised the India’s decision to field rookie Shahbaz Nadeem over an experienced Kuldeep Yadav, something which the Indian skipper has no regrets about. Nadeem, who was picked in the playing XI as India’s second spinner, failed to make an impact and conceded 233 runs in both the innings combined while managing just four scalps.  

“I just don’t understand why India would play Shahbaz Nadeem over Kuldeep Yadav. Kuldeep has been with the team since ages, he is bowling regularly in the nets and is in a rhythm. I don’t know how much Nadeem has played since the lockdown but Kuldeep should have started,” Panesar, who played 50 Tests for England, added. 

Reflecting on England’s massive win in Chennai on Monday, Panesar termed it as an ‘unbelievable’ experience and lauded English skipper Joe Root for leading the side from the front. 

“It is an unbelievable win. The way England have played over the last five days show how much confidence is there in that team. Joe Root needs to be lauded for the way he led his troops from the front. Everyone in that team stepped up in some manner and that is what makes team sport great. The players need to savior this moment. It will be celebrated for long,” Panesar said.

Meanwhile, the win also kept England’s hopes alive in the race for the World Test Championship (WTC) final spot, which is scheduled to take place at Lords in June this year. After the win, the visitors have now toppled the Indian unit and climbed to the pole position in the nine-team points table with 70.2 winning percentage points. If England finish the ongoing series with a 3-1, 3-0, or 4-0 win margin it will see them qualify for the WTC finals.       


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Sagar Biswas

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