Joe Root vs Virat Kohli: How the performances of the captains will define the fate of the series
It’s not too often that India come back into a Test series overseas after receiving setbacks at the start. After two defeats, one more resounding than the other, India were headed towards a repeat of their 2011 and 2014 tours to England where they collapsed against England.
But the emphatic way this team bounced back to produce a team performance to defeat England by 203 runs speaks volumes about the belief within the team. Despite being 0-2 down, the team stood by each other and everybody chipped in and the result was emphatic.
A lot of that result and what we can expect in the next two Test matches depends on the respective skippers- Joe Root and Virat Kohli. It’s their performances as batsmen and as captains that will define how this Test series will be headed to.
The odds are against the tourists as they have come back from 0-2 to level the series 2-2 only twice in their Test cricket history- but they lost the fifth Test of the series on both occasions. But clearly, this team would want to rewrite history by going to win the next two matches.
Virat Kohli, the batsman is at the peak of his powers. He looks the best batsman in both the teams so far. His ability to score big and consistently, putting the ghost of the 2014 series behind him is something that has driven India to get back into the series.
Below are few statistics to emphasize on how VK has through his outstanding batting carried that on to the field as well:
Virat Kohli needs just 6 runs to reach the 6,000-run mark in Test cricket. Kohli will become the 10th Indian and 66th overall to the landmark. He also has the chance to leave behind Gundappa Viswanath (6,080) and secure the 9th position on the list of India’s leading run-scorer in Tests.
Virat Kohli needs 60 runs to reach the 500-run mark in the ongoing series. Of Indians, only Rahul Dravid (602 in 2002) and Sunil Gavaskar (542 in 1979) have done this. Rahul Dravid had also scored 461 runs in 2011.
Cricket is all about confidence and cashing in on that. When things are not going your way, it reflects on the batting and how one captains the side too. Joe Root is going through a lean patch this Test series against India. And that’s reflected in his captaincy.
Especially when the batting line-up is fragile, the big guns should step up big time and deliver. But for England, their biggest assets with the bat- Joe Root and Alistair Cook have got far too many scores in the 20s and 30’s but haven’t converted anything into bigger scores.
This has impacted the way Joe Root has led the side as well. In the second innings at Lord’s when the chips were down, he was not able to lift his side. He allowed India to build on their massive first innings lead, the intent to set more attacking fields and pressurize them was missing from Joe Root.
Virat Kohli is usually very vocal and his aggression can allow players to deliver up to their potential. Joe Root, on the other hand, is a more passive skipper who capitalizes on situations being in the team’s favour. He is not an enforcer like his counterpart.
Differences in captaincy style aside, it is common knowledge that the skippers are the best batsmen in their respective sides. Joe Root has got into decent starts but is yet to enforce himself in this series with the bat. Credit must go to India for dismissing him early consistently.
With the series delicately poised at 2-1 in favour of England, the stage is set for their skipper to come good with the bat as that would have a positive impact on the way he leads the side at Southampton.
England pace spearhead James Anderson (557) needs 7 more wickets to go past Glenn McGrath and seal the 4th spot on the list of all-time wicket-takers (and become the top wicket-takers among fast bowlers).
Stuart Broad (428) needs 4 more wickets to go past Rangana Herath and seal the 9th spot on the list of all-time wicket-takers. These statistical milestones could propel an English comeback.
In a battle between the extremely confident Virat Kohli vs an underperforming Joe Root, it must be seen who comes out on top. Virat Kohli the skipper and batsman is riding high on a thumping win at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
Joe Root, on the other hand, will have to iron out technical defects and stay at the crease longer to ensure England’s bowlers led by James Anderson have enough runs to play with to attack and dominate India.
This series would be decided based on the performance of the respective captains. In this tale of two contrasting yet equally talented individuals, it has to be seen who will come out tops, Virat Kohli or Joe Root.