West Indies vs India 2016: Ian Bishop lauds Virat Kohli's aggressive captaincy
Heaping lavish praise on Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s aggressive style of captaincy, former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop feels the huge gulf of class between India and the West Indies will make things very difficult for the home side as they attempt to come back after the losing the first Test of the four-match series by an innings and 92 runs.
Kohli led from the front with his maiden first-class double century and also earned plaudits for showing the courage to go in with five bowlers and using them effectively. Bishop feels the visitors will only benefit from Kohli’s leadership skills.
"I like what I see from Virat Kohli. His captaincy is a reflection of his aggressive personality," said Bishop on the sidelines of the first Test. "I prefer to see that in a captain than someone who is conservative or who sits back all the time. In time Virat will learn to give his bowlers a longer spell, or take them out quickly. He is growing in this job and I like what I have seen so far in his inventiveness and his use of the bowlers."
Bishop also shared his delight at seeing Kohli getting that elusive double hundred which had evaded his clutches until now.
"I am happy to see Virat finally get a double hundred, and even considering that the opposition is an easy West Indies team, they are getting into good habits. India are aggressive under Virat and his captaincy is very aggressive, and they are doing what they need to do against the opposition they are playing against," the former fast bowler said.
Despite sharing his sadness with the West Indies crowd that saw their side crumble to a heavy defeat within four days, Bishop expects more of the same in the coming Tests as well due to the wide disparity between the talent on show in the two sides.
"They (India) are a good team and ranked No. 2 in Tests for a reason. They have been doing some good things for a while now and it includes building an all-round bowling attack,” he said. "This is a No. 2 versus No. 8 battle, so let us be real about the two sides. There is an obvious difference in quality here.
“I mean, look at the experience of Virat, Ishant, Umesh and Ashwin.”
Bishop has reservations on Ashwin’s standing as a genuine all-rounder
Apart from Kohli, it was Ravichandran Ashwin whose innings of 113 after being promoted to the No 6 spot that ensured India needing to bat only once during the Antigua Test. Though impressed by the offspinner's knock, Bishop doesn’t feel right to call the 29-year-old a genuine all rounder yet.
"Every team in the world is looking for that guy who can bowl yet bat at that position. You think of Ben Stokes for England. Australia had a couple of guys for many years, and they have Mitchell Marsh who is doing that job for them now,” Bishop said.
"The West Indies are looking for someone to bat at six and give them the sort of penetration with the ball as well. But if you look at Ashwin's record against West Indies compared to his record against other teams, well, there is a disparity. So we have to take that into context. It is how he will go against the other higher ranked teams in the world is something to see. This has been a good move but now it has to kick on."
Bishop feels the only way West Indies can hope to make a fightback in the series is by preparing pitches that is helpful to the home side but is not entirely sure that there is a weakness in the Indian side that could be exploited.
"From what I saw last week in the CPL when I was in Jamaica, was a well-grassed pitch offering good help for the fast bowlers and that's what I expect. I saw the pitch being prepared and there was good grass coverage, so that is my expectation,” Bishop said.
"Whether it gives West Indies an advantage, only time will tell because India have all their bases covered. People talk about home advantages but I like to see good cricketing surfaces regardless of strengths. But seeing the first Test, West Indies do need a pitch that will bring their seam bowlers into play more and then their batsmen will have to fend for themselves," he signed off.