Bengaluru: It’s not easy to shake off a defeat, especially if it’s a galling 300-plus run capitulation at home. Team India, under the stewardship of Virat Kohli and the man with one of India’s finest cricketing brains, Anil Kumble, are in many ways, back to square one.
Having set off on a brilliant run of wins and staying undefeated over 13 Tests from the time Kumble was appointed head coach in June 2016, the Kohli-Kumble combine, after the 2-0 series away win against the West Indies, have swatted away all their opponents with overwhelming dominance and confidence, at home.
New Zealand, England and Bangladesh came and left, chastised and chastened as the Indian team kept driving forward in ruthless fashion. And then Pune happened. In many ways, embarrassing as it may seem, given that Pune was a plot backfired that spectacularly, it’s a burden off their backs.
Given the stirring run where they vanquished different opponents albeit on surfaces that suited their style of play, Kohli and Kumble are back to the drawing board. To re-strategise and reinvigorate the team.
They haven’t exactly slipped off the pedestal: any run, in any form of sport, team or otherwise, has to end; it’s but a natural progression. It’s the ability to pull themselves back that marks out a champion.
Steve Smith’s Australians pilloried for their abject performance in the Emerald Isles and their capitulation against South Africa managed to get back on level ground against Pakistan at home before the fantastic Pune win in the first Test redeemed them.
Though redemption is not what Kohli and Kumble are seeking, the second Test beginning from Saturday here, will be about getting back to doing things that they do best, not in robotic form.
“I mean, you can’t keep winning every game. It has to come to an end at some point of time. But as I said, 20 games in current scenario of Test cricket (is big),” said Kumble with refreshing candour.
Records and runs are made to be broken and history has proved that even the best come tumbling down after a while. But Kumble is quick to point out that the team is capable enough to pull itself out of the morass.
“It’s quite challenging for any international side to go out there and (keep) winning. And that’s what this team has been able to do. Across conditions, be it Sri Lanka, India, West Indies. And against quality sides, we’ve won from difficult situations. We have adapted to various conditions and also various situations. That’s what we didn’t do in the last game. That’s why the result didn’t go our way. That’s why we are looking forward to this game to again start on a winning note,” said the head coach.
Positivity plays a huge role in life, especially in the sporting arena and Kumble, if anything, has oodles of it. It just helps matters that the skipper is of the same mindset with positivity coursing through his veins. “I would say that we needed something like this for us to get a reality check and understand what are the things we need to work on and keep persisting with it,” Kohli had said.