What a superb innings Suresh Raina played at Cardiff. Absolutely brilliant. Even the English fans were thrilled. And he has given India exactly the shot in the arm they needed after the Test series disaster. Already, this looks like a different team, and there is a spring in the step instead of the limp of the walking wounded. The century must seem particularly sweet to Raina, because he was ignored for the Test series, and his last century came four years ago.
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The positive aspect of his exclusion from the Tests, however, is that it enabled him to play without baggage or fear of failure. This becomes even more obvious when you see the abominable shot that Virat Kohli played. It was clearly the shot of a man not thinking straight, one whose brain has been scrambled. He’s had a rotten time in the Tests, and he must now look beyond that and use his brains to get out of trouble, because talent is no good without intelligence, and Kohli is too talented a player to waste his time and energy in such a manner.
It seems really strange that a batsman as talented as he is, thinks he has to slog from the word go. At this level of any sport, a lot of the corrections and rectifications come from the player himself, rather than from a coach or manager. It is fair to assume that you are capable of correcting the basics, with the occasional expert tip to help you along. So Kohli needs to rethink his approach, calm himself down, and play the game he is used to playing, rather than try to prove a point with every shot.
Talking about coaches, and having read and thought about the BCCI’s decision to appoint Ravi Shastri in a managerial capacity, I rather like the idea. I’ve never been a huge Duncan Fletcher supporter in any case. The man doesn’t smile, always looks grumpy, like he’s in pain. You’re getting a whole lot of money to do something you love – so have some fun, for God’s sake. I really do believe that grumpiness affected the entire team. These are young, healthy, fit men – they should enjoy their game, instead of mooching around looking miserable.
Ravi ought to make them smile and enjoy the game more. Moreover, I have always believed that teams ought to appoint coaches from their own countries. I can’t believe that given all the legendary former players, India can’t appoint a coach from among their own. So here’s looking at better times.
It will also help India’s cause immensely if England continue with this bowling attack. There’s a sameness about the bowling of Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes, and Chris Jordan that ought to delight all opposition batsmen. So if there aren’t any changes to the attack, India have one less thing to worry about.