Kohli’s Absence, Panesar Warns of England Dominance

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After a long time, India and England are facing each other in a Test series on Indian soil. The series contains five Test matches. The first Test match took place on January 25 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. In that match, India faced a defeat of 28 runs. With that win, England took the lead in that series. After that defeat, former English spinner Monty Panesar talked about the things that India lacked in the previous fixture. 

India’s Defeat and Virat Kohli’s Absence:

In a stunning turn of events, England clinched victory over India by 28 runs in the first Test at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad. Despite trailing by 190 runs in the first innings, Ben Stokes’ team staged a remarkable comeback, fueled by Ollie Pope’s commanding 196. Set a target of 231 in the fourth innings, India faltered as debutant Tom Hartley’s 7/62 sealed the deal for England.

Before the Test series started, Indian players met in Hyderabad for four intense practice sessions. Virat Kohli joined the practice session but in the mid-way, he withdrew his name from the first two Test matches due to personal reasons. His absence was felt in the first Test match. 

Monty Panesar’s View:

Captain Rohit Sharma’s leadership is now under scrutiny, with experts questioning his tactics during the crucial second innings following India’s disappointing loss in the series opener. Ex-England spinner Monty Panesar expressed the view that India lacked the aggression of their star batter Virat Kohli, who could have challenged England players. The 41-year-old highlighted the absence of Kohli’s intensity on the field, emphasizing the significant impact it had on India’s performance.

While talking about this, the former English spinner said, “If Virat Kohli was playing he would have been in the faces of these England players and told them ‘Hey, do it again let’s see how good you are’. This is an England team who are not scared of losing, they don’t scare if they lose. In the next four games, they would still play without the fear of failure.”

Later he added, “Virat Kohli has that presence and intensity, which is missing currently in the India team. Virat Kohli has that aura and presence. If England wins the next Test match then India will be in big trouble. This is a big moment for Rohit Sharma, he needs to show that he can turn around the match without Virat Kohli.”

English batter Ollie Pope played an amazing knock in the last match. He scored 196 runs in a crucial point. That knock boosted England’s innings hugely. Looking ahead, Panesar cautioned India, stating that if Pope and Hartley maintain their current form, England could secure a 5-0 series victory. On this matter, he said, “If Ollie Pope and Tom Hartley continue to play like this it will be a whitewash, it will be 5-0 for England. It can happen if Ollie Pope and Tom Hartley play like this.”

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