Monty Panesar believes England underestimated Indian captain Virat Kohli's character and his unwavering backing of his players during the second Test. The hosts targeted and "bullied" pacer Jasprit Bumrah at Lord's, a tactic Panesar believes came from their head coach Chris Silverwood. But the ploy ultimately "backfired" for England as the team slumped to a heavy defeat.
India won the Test by 151 runs, taking a 1-0 lead in the series, as tempers ran high throughout the match. Jasprit Bumrah was involved in a heated argument with James Anderson on Day 3. England replied with bouncers from their pacers and some heavy sledging by their fielders when Bumrah came to bat on the final day. Virat Kohli, for his part, supported his frontline pacer and gave it back to Anderson and the rest of England's batting lineup during the hosts' second innings.
"I am sure it all came from England coach Chris Silverwood. That was his idea, 'let's target India's number 10 or 11, bouncing them really hard and rattle them.' India were like, 'okay you are after one of our guys, we all will be after you now.' India's tactic really worked in their favour. England thought that they would bully the Indian team. 'Let's bully Jasprit Bumrah, the number 11.' But they weren't aware of what kind of character Virat Kohli is. He was observing everything and then came back hard on England. He is a guy who never forgives," Monty Panesar told Timesofindia.com in an interview.
Monty Panesar further announced that England shouldn't have "messed with India" because the team's captain won't take bullying and instead "give it back strongly".
"He will support his team in every way no matter what. Virat can't tolerate the bullying of his teammates. England started but it backfired and all credit goes to Virat. England were intimidated by the Indian team. On Day 5, when they got Rishabh Pant out, they thought they would get Shami and Bumrah cheaply too. But everything backfired for England. You just can't mess with India. Virat can't take bullying. He will give it back to you strongly," the former pacer added.
"Virat Kohli is a hard taskmaster, the credit has to go to him" - Maninder Singh
Former cricketer Maninder Singh also lauded "taskmaster" Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri's tutelage. He said the duo had done a commendable job of helping India perform as a unit.
"Virat is a hard taskmaster. The credit has to go to him. But I would give credit to this unit as a whole. Let's not forget Ravi Shastri. He is doing a commendable job. He is the one who is injecting confidence in the team and youngsters," Maninder Singh, who played 35 Tests and 59 ODIs for India, said.
Virat Kohli and co. will look to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series when the third Test starts on August 25 at Headingley.