India getting accustomed to world No.1 tag

Two striking features of India’s 4-0 series drubbing of England are the irrelevance of the toss and the quality of pitches when playing Tests in your backyard.

How will one explain the phenomenon of losing four tosses in a five-Test series and winning four, two of these by an innings? That, too, after England had posted 400-plus scores batting first, the 477 in Chennai being a record score for a losing side.

The team can justifiably claim that they don’t have to depend any more on tracks turning square or for that matter standing up to genuine pacer-friendly pitches. If they are confronted with pace, India also have the firepower to hit back.

Now the post-series reviews naturally cannot find any fault with the India team and the leadership qualities of the flamboyant Virat Kohli.

Kohli is not one to hide his emotions on the field, unlike his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and he must have had a vicarious pleasure at savouring the margin of series victory.

He was part of the rout India were subjected to when they were in England the last time and personally his own form with the bat did not make him look a serious cricketer, repeatedly nibbling at outswinging deliveries.

Dhoni had to pay for it as it happened to be his second unsuccessful tour to England, though he took the team to Australia only to step down midway through the series, handing over the reins to Kohli.

In that respect, Kohli is lucky. He has started his reign at home and in eight Tests, three against New Zealand and five against England, he has been able to hone his own skills as captain and also the transition of his team.

In between, he won a good series in Sri Lanka rallying after losing the first Test, never easy in the island nation, and another comfortably in the West Indies.

Just as the usual demand for one captain for all formats seemed to be rising, some question marks were put on Kohli’s handling of bowlers and his field placements. Kohli is not one to shy away from answering his critics

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