3 things Virat Kohli's India need to improve if they want to become one of the best teams to have ever played the game
As Virat Kohli and Co completed another demolition job in India, this time accounting for the hapless, ABD-less, Amla-less South Africa, the cricketing world rose in unison to applaud a thoroughly dominant team.
India, under Kohli, have become an irresistible force especially in home conditions, blowing away every visiting team with ease. Their away performances have been good too, thanks largely to the pace attack at Kohli's disposal - which is clearly the best in India's history.
Statistically, this team is still a little short of the dominating Windies team under Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards or the all-conquering Aussies under Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. If Kohli's India are to be remembered alongside these great sides, they will have to produce results around the world over a sustained period of time.
As good as this Indian cricket team is, there are a few improvements that need to be made in order for them to reach the absolute pinnacle. Here, we list down three things that can make Kohli's India one of the best ever.
1. Left-arm fast bowler
India's pace attack is certainly the best ever in their history. Bhuvneshwar Kumar's swing, Mohammad Shami's seam, Umesh Yadav's pace, Ishant Shama's control and to top it all Jasprit Bumrah's all-round excellence have helped India make a mark on all overseas tours.
But even though this bowling attack has variety, they are all right-arm bowlers. A left-arm fast bowler in the mould of a Trent Boult could add variety to the already impressive bowling attack.
If India can unearth a world-class left-arm fast bowler, then there will be no stopping the team even on bouncy and seaming wickets abroad.
India have tried the likes of Khaleel Ahmed and Barinder Sran in limited overs fixtures over the last few years, but are yet to find a truly world-class left-arm pacer that can break into this team.
2. Spinner to win matches overseas
India's impeccable home record over the last five years is down to the success of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
But somehow, both of them have not been able to win matches off their own bowling in overseas conditions. The likes of Moeen Ali and Nathan Lyon have often out-bowled their Indian counterparts in England and Australia.
Whether the solution lies in Ashwin or Jadeja improving their overseas performances or in grooming the likes of Kuldeep Yadav or even Rahul Chahar, the team management will have to find a spinner that can ease the burden on India's impressive pace attack.
3. The No. 6 conundrum overseas
Kohli has always been an advocate of the five-bowler theory, but has recently been forced to play Hanuma Vihari at No. 6 to shore up the batting order. A fit and firing Hardik Pandya would go a long way towards resolving this issue, but Kohli needs to be sure of his strategy going into foreign tours about the composition of his side.
Vihari at No. 6 and a wicket-keeper (Rishabh Pant or Wriddhiman Saha) at No. 7 would leave Kohli with only four bowling options to play with.
If Pandya can deliver consistently with both bat and ball, then it would give Kohli an extra bowling option. But in Pandya's absence, the choice that Kohli has to make is whether to solidify the batting lineup by having a sound No. 6 batsman and go in with four bowlers, or take a risk and play the extra bowler at the cost of Vihari.
If Kohli finds the right balance, it will go a long way towards establishing this team's identity as one of the best ever.
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