Chance for Vi­rat to emerge in the West Indies

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - Ab­hishek Paul ab­hishek.paul@htlive.com

Af­ter miss­ing Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy semi­fi­nal due to spasm, pacer re­turned to blow away In­dia top or­der when it mat­tered most

set­backs af­ter be­ing banned from cricket for five years due to match­fix­ing. So, emerg­ing triumphant on a big day is prob­a­bly child’s play. He re­served his best for the last and In­dia hap­pened to be at the re­ceiv­ing end.

“Mo­ham­mad Amir is a big-match player. I do know that when the game is on the line and the big­ger the game, the more he per­forms, the more amped up he gets,” said Arthur.

“He doesn’t shy away from pres­sure sit­u­a­tions. He doesn’t shy away from big games. He’s got proper big-match tem­per­a­ment, and he showed that to­day on the big­gest stage,” the Pak­istan coach said.

Vi­rat Kohli will not con­test that state­ment.

De­feat in an ICC event fi­nal, and that too against Pak­istan, can ran­kle for a long time. In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli will be braced for it af­ter los­ing the ti­tle clash of the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, a tour­na­ment whose build-up in­volved off-field talk that are not gen­er­ally heard from the In­dian dress­ing room.

In­dia started the 2017 edi­tion as de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons and played like one till the fi­nal at the Oval on Sun­day. The con­fi­dence boost­ing wins in the group stages and the semi-fi­nal pushed an im­por­tant ques­tion to the back­ground – will Anil Kum­ble con­tinue as coach?

That ques­tion is ex­pected to be an­swered af­ter In­dia’s tour of the West Indies, a re­gion that hosted the 2007 ICC World Cup – a tour­na­ment that last saw un­rest in the In­dian dress­ing room due to tiff be­tween the then coach Greg Chappell and the play­ers. Kohli him­self de­clared he had “no is­sues” with Kum­ble. The cap­tain may be right, but Kum­ble’s fu­ture as In­dia coach is still not con­firmed.

The last time a coach con­tro­versy hogged the lime­light in In­dian cricket, it had seen the emer­gence of cap­tain MS Dhoni who sur­prised all by lead­ing In­dia to the 2007 World T20 crown in South Africa.

Dhoni’s suc­cess af­ter that --lead­ing In­dia to No 1 Test sta­tus, win­ning the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy --- is a sto­ried af­fair.

Kohli, at this stage, is far more ex­pe­ri­enced than Dhoni was in 2007. He is al­ready the leader of the No 1 Test side and is one of the best bats­men in the world. But fail­ure is a new phe­nom­e­non to him. How well will he han­dle it is the ques­tion.

Will this loss wit­ness the emer­gence of a more ma­ture Kohli? Es­pe­cially, at a time when In­dia are sched­uled to play a se­ries of over­seas tours in­volv­ing South Africa, Eng­land, Aus­tralia and New Zealand?

The com­fort­ing thing is that Kohli was gra­cious in de­feat af­ter the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy fi­nal against Pak­istan. He also ac­knowl­edged that the core of the cur­rent In­dian team will re­main same.

In the first two games, he didn’t get a wicket but he had bowled par­tic­u­larly well. We were al­ways think­ing it was one spell in some­where, and the spell came thank­fully to­day at the start of a fi­nal.

Los­ing a big fi­nal is def­i­nitely not an aber­ra­tion in the sport­ing world. But Kohli the cap­tain has a big­ger task ahead. Af­ter the loss to Pak­istan, the over­seas se­ries and the coach co­nun­drum will be two big chal­lenges that Kohli, who has been high on suc­cess in the past one year, will have to tackle.

Dhoni ex­celled in it, go­ing on to be­come In­dia’s most suc­cess­ful cap­tain ever. Will Kohli find a way to emerge as a new cap­tain? He can al­ways go to his vet­eran wick­et­keeper for valu­able sug­ges­tions.

AFP

Mo­ham­mad Amir cel­e­brates dis­miss­ing Ro­hit Sharma in the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy fi­nal at The Oval on Sun­day. Vi­rat Kohli cut a sorry fig­ure af­ter In­dia’s loss on Sun­day.

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