02 August, 2021

Kohli & Co.: Let This Epiphany Stay Unbeaten

Privileging competence, even stolidity, over flash and dazzle and multiple stabs over awesome blows, India wore Australia down in an un-Indian manner

Golden Mace
Old-fashioned and risk-free, Pujara was the difference between the sides
Photograph by AP
Kohli & Co.: Let This Epiphany Stay Unbeaten

The ‘new’ India has been evolving for a while now, dropping some of the baggage of the old while appearing uncertain about the nuances of the transformation. One thing would vindicate the change in culture: a series win away, with the accent on solidity rather than mere flash, on efficiency rather than style, on a move away from strike rates or gasp-ind­ucing spin to putting it all together in a package that ground the opposition down. It all came tog­ether in Australia.

If it meant winning in an un-Indian way, so be it. Spin bowling wasn’t the key. Nor was wristy, ooh-inspiring batsmanship. Virat Kohli’s men were professional, focused, and delivered the knockout with a series of short jabs rather than one mighty punch. For too long have Indian teams relied on the mighty punch that looked attractive but meant ignoring the short jabs. Neither Kohli nor coach Ravi Shastri is an old school romantic. If Indian teams in the past felt that it was important to win looking attractive and in command, the Shastri-Kohli duo felt it was simply important...

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