By virtue of their clinical 8-wicket triumph in the third Test at Mohali, India have already taken a 2-0 lead with two more matches left to play. Former skipper Sourav Ganguly believes they can go on to register victories in Mumbai as well as Chennai and defeat England by a 4-0 margin.
In a free-wheeling chat with India Today, the 44-year old also compared Virat Kohli’s leadership skills with some famous Indian captains of the past such as MS Dhoni and Sunil Gavaskar.
Kohli has gotten off to a remarkable start to his Test captaincy with 12 victories and only 2 losses from 20 matches. Interestingly, Dhoni had exactly the same record as captain from his first 20 matches. Another impressive statistic sees the current Indian team go unbeaten for 16 consecutive Tests and they can even set a new all-time Indian record if they remain undefeated in the next two matches.
Ganguly felt, “Cricket has changed since the times of Gavaskar because there were more drawn Test matches then and there are more result-oriented games now. You see around the world, Test matches finish in four days. Kohli has played a lot of Test matches at home which is easier. From that point of view, he has had little bit of advantage over Gavaskar and MS Dhoni.”
“But we can't take the credit away from him. He has beaten West Indies in West Indies (2016) and Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka (2015). He's done superbly but these records will change once they start going away. I think that's where it will be the real challenge for Virat Kohli and (head coach) Anil Kumble.”
Upon beginning the series as favourites, the hosts were greeted by a flat pitch in Rajkot which England took advantage of and emerged with a draw. However, the Indians have bounced back by surging to comprehensive victories in Vizag as well as Mohali and are now eyeing a dominant score line in the series.
Ganguly insisted, “India will not look back – they are 2-0 up and are on their way to probably 4-0. India have really comeback well after the (drawn) first Test. They are going to put pressure on England in the next two Test matches as well. But having said that, Mumbai and Chennai are probably England's better chances (to win) than Vizag and Mohali because of bounce. It may spin but with bounce it might help the way England play.”
However, he admitted, “But they will have to really, really play well to beat India and most importantly England are really behind in the spin department. The question is, do Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have it in them to pick 20 (Indian) wickets? I don't think their fast bowlers will be able to pick 20 wickets and win a Test match.”
The fourth Test will begin at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on December 8th and the caravan will then move to the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai for the final Test on the 16th.