Indian skipper Virat Kohli believes his team is the best in 15 years, a brave and also foolhardy thing to say after losing the England series 4-1. The scoreboard may not tell the tale: Cold facts reveal his Team India’s record was one of missed opportunities. His boys were indeed competitive for most of the series, but invariably found lacking at the business end of Test matches, that need sustained intensity than sparkling individual performances. In the end, Kohli’s squad was incapable of displaying the will to win. Bragging rights mean nothing even if computerised rankings still give Team India the edge as the top-rated Test team.
The inability to perform consistently in areas outside Asia’s pitches is well marked in most of India’s cricket history, except that there were teams in the mid-1980s and mid-2000s which performed far better outside the protected zone than any of Kohli’s teams. The captain would be better off if he introspected than try to browbeat the media. The number of selection mistakes he made along with the Ravi Shastri-led support team was outrageous. Their incapacity to read pitches in the English summer meant they had an extra spinner when a seam bowler would have been better, and vice versa. However splendidly he batted, it appears Kohli will go down as a performer at the crease more than a thinking captain.