Chance for Virat to emerge in the West Indies
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.
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.