India's Best Test XI under Virat Kohli in Indian conditions
Test cricket has seen long periods of dominance by great teams of the past. The mighty Windies of the 70s and 80s and the all-conquering Australians in the late 90s and 2000s maintained their hegemony at the very top in the longer format of the game.
It has been generally observed that Test teams have enjoyed a greater deal of success playing in home conditions. Graduating into Test cricket from their domestic first-class structure, the homegrown players are used to the bounce and pace of the wickets in their own country and adjust pretty quickly at the highest level.
On similar lines, bowlers know just about what length they need to pitch the ball to get maximum results out the deck. Going by the record books, it is very clear that all the Test playing nations boast of a much more impressive record at home than playing in overseas conditions.
While Australians, South Africans, English and the New Zealanders thrive on quick and bouncy wickets back home, sub-continent heavyweights like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been at their lethal best on the relatively slow, turning and batting friendly tracks.
Each team plays to its strengths by striking the right playing combination and preparing wickets to leverage maximum out of their home conditions. India has always been considered a strong Test team playing at home.
In the 90s, Azharuddin-led India were a formidable Test side at home courtesy a heavy batting lineup and quality spinners. India under Sourav Ganguly were pretty successful abroad were equally strong back home with the ‘Fab Five’ at the peaks of their prowess. MS Dhoni took the Indian team to the Numero Uno position in Test cricket courtesy a spree of bilateral series victories on home soil.
Under Virat Kohli, the Indian team has become an impregnable fortress on home soil, being simply unbeatable over the last three odd seasons. They have been a juggernaut winning a record-equalling ten bilateral Test series at home. Kohli has been lucky to lead a bunch of superstars who are match winners in their own right.
He has the requisite arsenal in both batting and bowling to win Test matches. A formidable batting lineup, world-class spinners and a potent pace battery make India arguably the best Test side at home.
It is quite astonishing that India has not lost a bilateral Test series in almost 5 years at home. Under Kohli's captaincy, India has won an impressive 15 of the 21 Test played at home and lost just once. Indian team's win percentage at home is the best among all Test playing nations in the last three years.
So let us have a look at the best eleven players who have been regularly picked in the Indian Test team under Kohli’s captaincy and have contributed consistently with either bat or ball to make India the best Test playing nation at home in the last three years.
Before going through India's best playing eleven under Virat Kohli at home, i would give my rationale as to why certain players who have contributed did not make the cut.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan has been in and out of the Test playing eleven so does not make the cut. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma have been preferred as the first choice Test seamers when India tours abroad but they both do not feature regularly in the playing eleven when India plays Tests at home so they miss the cut.
Allrounder Hardik Pandya is yet to play a Test in India. Promising youngsters like Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw and Kuldeep Yadav have just come onto the Test scene and have just played two matches each so they haven't been considered for selection.
#1 Murali Vijay
Murali Vijay has been India’s frontline opener in Test matches at home. The right-handed opener who has a well-organised technique has consistently scored runs at the top of the order in bilateral Test series played at home under Virat Kohli's captaincy.
The Tamil Nadu opener is an elegant stroke maker who is equally adept at attack or defence. Vijay has the ability to occupy the crease for long and play the waiting game. Murali relishes batting on docile sub-continent wickets and scored some scintillating tons. The stylish stroke-maker has good footwork and uses his feet well against both pacers and spinners. With five tons to his name, Vijay has been the most successful Test opener in bilateral series played at home under Virat Kohli's captaincy.
Record Under Virat Kohli’s captaincy at home
Matches 17 Runs 1254 Avg 44.78 100s 5 50s 4