Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 3rd day January 26, 2012

Kohli shows he belongs in Tests

A breakthrough innings that was played against a similar backdrop to VVS Laxman's Sydney symphony in 1999
77

Twelve years ago, on a similarly gloomy tour of Australia, a 25-year-old Indian found acceptance in Test cricket, and a love affair with Australia. He had played 16 Tests in more than four years before that, not in his usual position, and with the axe hanging forever over his head. In the final Test of that series, in Sydney, the man unleashed a whole array of drives and flicks, and scored 167 off 198 balls out of a total of 261, and in a defeat by an innings and 141 runs.

The man found acceptance the hard way. He scored a match-winning second-innings fifty in his first Test, batting at No. 6, but would be forced to open the innings soon, would play one Test here, one there, and would be dropped often. That man, VVS Laxman, now at the fag end of a legendary career full of match-turning innings that defied all logic, should most empathise with Virat Kohli's reaction at finally getting to a Test hundred, the only Indian to do so in this Test series.

Kohli has not had an initiation as tough as Laxman's, but we have been quick to write him off as a Test player. He has had other avenues in cricket that made him a superstar in his own right even before he started playing Test cricket. He had won a World Cup before his Test debut, had scored eight ODI centuries, and was the face of an IPL team owned by a multi-millionaire.

All that took us away from the struggles and desperation of the 23-year-old. Test cricket was neither his livelihood nor the end of his world, we thought. He played three Tests in the West Indies, and was dropped. At home, he scored twin fifties against the same opposition, and was brought to Australia as the No. 6. One failure, and the natural reaction was to ask for his head, and dismiss him as just a one-day specialist.

In perhaps the only sensible captaincy-slash-selection move on this tour, India stuck with Kohli. Then he scored 44 in the first innings at the WACA, the top score in yet another abysmal innings, and poured his heart out in a press conference. Suppressing a lump he said he couldn't figure out why people were after him.

Even today Kohli said the pressure had got to him. "After Sydney it was very bad," he said. "I was not in a good mental space after Sydney. And no one did anything. I was just putting myself under pressure. People are going to write things if you don't do well. If you concentrate on that you are going to put yourself under a lot of pressure.

"And after Sydney I went to Perth, everyday I kept telling myself I have done really well in one-day cricket, that's international cricket as well. I have scored eight centuries, I kept telling myself. Started really believing in myself once again, and neglecting all the other pressure." Kohli, like Laxman all those years ago, was fighting to get accepted.

And fight Kohli has. In the second innings at the WACA he got into a position where he would have thought of a century, but was left stranded on 75, with three tailenders falling in the same over. Perth earned him an approval that doesn't come easy - Richie Benaud's.

Adelaide is now the third Indian innings in a row that Kohli has top-scored in. It's not just the numbers, though. It's the clarity he has played with that stands out. It's the clarity that has deserted the veterans of the side on this tour, barring at times Sachin Tendulkar. The shots were crisp, the leaves better. The flick to the left of square leg worked like Laxman's. He dominated the lesser bowlers as Australia waited for the new ball. For the first time in this series, Kohli put together a session where an Indian wicket didn't look around the corner.

Australia have apply pressure through tight lines all series, but they have got away with loose deliveries too because the batsmen have been put in too tentative a mindset to capitalise. With Kohli today, almost every loose ball was punished. He got those loose balls because he had withstood the early seam bowling. The pulled six off Michael Clarke's not-short-enough delivery was perhaps the most positive an Indian batsman has been through the series.

A little too late in the day perhaps, but it did get to Australia. They looked a bit flustered. It made you wonder if there might have been a better fight if more Indian batsmen had played with clarity sooner in the series.

You couldn't take your eye off Kohli in the 90s, with the tail, barring Ishant Sharma, refusing to hang around. This was all too similar to Perth. Two of them fell in two balls. He was on 91. Not again, he thought. Somehow Ishant saw through an over, and in the next Kohli pulled off shots, and reached 99. Then came the near run-out, and verbals from Australia. It was a small win for Kohli; he had got them out of their comfort zone.

It was high drama. Then Kohli got to the century, and found release. Kohli's celebration wasn't the way Laxman celebrated, but there was the same relief of a man who thought he belonged after he had been made to feel unwanted. Of a man whose place was threatened by Rohit Sharma several times this series. The overriding thought remains that if Kohli had been denied an opportunity to make a Laxman-like century in Australia, it would have been due to India's insistence on playing Laxman.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BustIPL on January 29, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    But he is no replacement for any of the fab4 or even rohit sharma. He was not the main target of the aussie bowlers as they wanted to ensure that tendulkar doesn't get past 99, someone is very very stupid, the wall can be breached at will and viru is out of form despite his 219 in ODIs. Kohli has just mediocre average in tests but considering the state of current indian bench strength we have to take him as future of indian batting. He needs someone like chappel to get disciplined like ganguly.

  • dhoni_sachin_fan on January 27, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    give me so many chances even i'll get a hundred...kohli has got the privilege that pujara, badrinath, rohit and a few others havent got....its not surprising that he has got a hundred here....

  • on January 27, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    After watching his dismissal to a bouncer it's no wonder Gambhir is calling for India to keep preparing rank turners at home. If I were him I would stop whinging about bouncy seaming pitches and work quietly at improving my game in that area. I still don't understand his view that pitches in the series can have demons in it when Australia are piling on scores of in excess of 500 runs and then India are coming out and batting on the same pitch and being bundled out for 150 odd. Seems like a lack of proper technique and patience is the issue not the condition of the pitch.

  • on January 27, 2012, 2:42 GMT

    way they have played first 3 test .(and also the 4th one) no one deserve to have place in team .

  • BravoBravo on January 27, 2012, 2:02 GMT

    This article by Mr. Monga remains incomplete without pointing out who (among IND batsmen) does not belong to tests. Author has been very harsh and explicit about VVS Laxman but he parried about the credentials of Selfish SRT, Bigmouth Shewag and Mr. Nice-RSD. They should have been gone by now rather extinct like Dinosaurs from IND cricket. They are just surviving on life saving devices for comedy show like IPL. After 2 consecutive white washes, all these loosers will play in IPL, hitting pedestrian bowler and cheering.

  • johnathonjosephs on January 27, 2012, 1:22 GMT

    Very funny. I saw recently an article in cricinfo saying that "Yadav stands tall among the rubble". What a joke, he's been bowling at an average of 40 with an economy rate near 4.5. How is that the best bowler? Just because he got a 5 wicket haul, he is praised as the next McGrath. Indian media overrates their bowlers. Ironically, the best bowler in the Aus Series was Ishant who has a worse average, but Kohli has been the best player hands down.

  • BustIPL on January 27, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    Rohit/Ajinkya/Jadeja/ Raina - IN ??????????????????????? Rohit jadeja kohli can be given a run but they are no replacement for greats,

  • BustIPL on January 27, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    But he is no replacement for the greats like tendulkar, sehwag, laxman, dravid, gavaskar and ganguly. he is getting extended run as he is not the main target of aussie bowling. they are more concentrating on denying tendulkar the hundred, breaching the wall spectecularly, proving someone is not very very special outside india and sehwag is out of form despite 219 ODI record. by becoming team spekesmen for indian team both kohli and gambhir cannot become great players.

  • pk_brisbane on January 26, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    ive watched him at the emerging players tournament in brisbane a couple of years ago, and on a tricky pitch after M Vijay, Mukund and Badrinath failed, kohli looked a class above everyone and made a hundred. he looked positive from ball one, and backed it up with runs in all innings, including a match winning knock in the final.

  • StarRsng on January 26, 2012, 22:54 GMT

    Still do not like the attitude of indian players , Kohli played well and scored a century but the way he celebrated , it appeared as if India has won the match . Why are we focusing on personal goals ? Century is sure a big thing but don't forget India will most likely lose this match and will be 0-4 , complete whitewash. Personal performances don't win matches . Even if he scored a 100 , attitude needs to be changed . Primary focus should be on winning . Aggression is good but you can't boast that we'll beat them when they come to India . Overall , i like the aggression , tells us about the new breed of Indian cricketers but focus should be changed to winning rather than personal milestones . You can be proud after scoring a hundred but remember that your team is losing so there's no need to show arrogance .

  • BustIPL on January 29, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    But he is no replacement for any of the fab4 or even rohit sharma. He was not the main target of the aussie bowlers as they wanted to ensure that tendulkar doesn't get past 99, someone is very very stupid, the wall can be breached at will and viru is out of form despite his 219 in ODIs. Kohli has just mediocre average in tests but considering the state of current indian bench strength we have to take him as future of indian batting. He needs someone like chappel to get disciplined like ganguly.

  • dhoni_sachin_fan on January 27, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    give me so many chances even i'll get a hundred...kohli has got the privilege that pujara, badrinath, rohit and a few others havent got....its not surprising that he has got a hundred here....

  • on January 27, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    After watching his dismissal to a bouncer it's no wonder Gambhir is calling for India to keep preparing rank turners at home. If I were him I would stop whinging about bouncy seaming pitches and work quietly at improving my game in that area. I still don't understand his view that pitches in the series can have demons in it when Australia are piling on scores of in excess of 500 runs and then India are coming out and batting on the same pitch and being bundled out for 150 odd. Seems like a lack of proper technique and patience is the issue not the condition of the pitch.

  • on January 27, 2012, 2:42 GMT

    way they have played first 3 test .(and also the 4th one) no one deserve to have place in team .

  • BravoBravo on January 27, 2012, 2:02 GMT

    This article by Mr. Monga remains incomplete without pointing out who (among IND batsmen) does not belong to tests. Author has been very harsh and explicit about VVS Laxman but he parried about the credentials of Selfish SRT, Bigmouth Shewag and Mr. Nice-RSD. They should have been gone by now rather extinct like Dinosaurs from IND cricket. They are just surviving on life saving devices for comedy show like IPL. After 2 consecutive white washes, all these loosers will play in IPL, hitting pedestrian bowler and cheering.

  • johnathonjosephs on January 27, 2012, 1:22 GMT

    Very funny. I saw recently an article in cricinfo saying that "Yadav stands tall among the rubble". What a joke, he's been bowling at an average of 40 with an economy rate near 4.5. How is that the best bowler? Just because he got a 5 wicket haul, he is praised as the next McGrath. Indian media overrates their bowlers. Ironically, the best bowler in the Aus Series was Ishant who has a worse average, but Kohli has been the best player hands down.

  • BustIPL on January 27, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    Rohit/Ajinkya/Jadeja/ Raina - IN ??????????????????????? Rohit jadeja kohli can be given a run but they are no replacement for greats,

  • BustIPL on January 27, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    But he is no replacement for the greats like tendulkar, sehwag, laxman, dravid, gavaskar and ganguly. he is getting extended run as he is not the main target of aussie bowling. they are more concentrating on denying tendulkar the hundred, breaching the wall spectecularly, proving someone is not very very special outside india and sehwag is out of form despite 219 ODI record. by becoming team spekesmen for indian team both kohli and gambhir cannot become great players.

  • pk_brisbane on January 26, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    ive watched him at the emerging players tournament in brisbane a couple of years ago, and on a tricky pitch after M Vijay, Mukund and Badrinath failed, kohli looked a class above everyone and made a hundred. he looked positive from ball one, and backed it up with runs in all innings, including a match winning knock in the final.

  • StarRsng on January 26, 2012, 22:54 GMT

    Still do not like the attitude of indian players , Kohli played well and scored a century but the way he celebrated , it appeared as if India has won the match . Why are we focusing on personal goals ? Century is sure a big thing but don't forget India will most likely lose this match and will be 0-4 , complete whitewash. Personal performances don't win matches . Even if he scored a 100 , attitude needs to be changed . Primary focus should be on winning . Aggression is good but you can't boast that we'll beat them when they come to India . Overall , i like the aggression , tells us about the new breed of Indian cricketers but focus should be changed to winning rather than personal milestones . You can be proud after scoring a hundred but remember that your team is losing so there's no need to show arrogance .

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 22:10 GMT

    SRT made his Test Debut in Nov 89, so he is from the latter 80,s batch. Other players like Lara, Inzamam, Jayasurya and many more who debuted in early 90,s have long gone. SRT has been 22 years in the game. Still he is not satisfied. Unneccesaarily he is gettng greedy for his 100th ton. He is spoiling the name of his otherwise illustrous career. He should have walked away on the success of the WC 2011. Sunny Gavasker did the right thing by retiring at the right time. But now SRT and Dravid are only selfish. May be some explayers should make them understand that they cannot go on for ever.

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    @ moBlue .. Sir, SA details --> http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/batting/most_runs_career.html?id=5925;type=series . Sir, please check the details on the link porvided above. Laxman averaged 39.20 in SA. All your comments are answered in thease figures. And I do not feel the need to comment any further. Save one innings of 96 he has been a failure. for a player in the game since 96 do you expect an average of 39 to be satisfying? any way what has he performed since then barring the hapless WI & NZ ?

  • kempy21 on January 26, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    I was at the ground yesterday to see this innings first hand. Kohli simply must stay in the side. I personally didn't think he had the maturity or the temperament to play an innings like that but he was exceptional. He, unlike a lot of other Indian batsmen displayed on this tour, has all the shots. He should be at 3 but are the selectors brave enough to give him the promotion? Was looking forward to seeing Rohit Sharma on this tour perhaps in the ODIs. Another question. Where is Pujara? Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman you have all been wonderful servants of Indian cricket and fantastic to watch but it's time you stepped aside for the next generation.

  • anita1_cric on January 26, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    That idddot belongs to losing side ..what the big deal ..when the ind wil realize cricket is a team event and winning counts..... already we the best selfish player SRT ..... we care for that dum 100 th century rather than team win ...all these ind crickets needs a glass of left over from gr8 batsman Clarke

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    @ Al_Bundy1 .. is absolutely right. Virat put up a fight at his personal level not only in this match but also in the previous match (40 & 70). His young aggression helped india's cause that he scored well. He is definately one of the future stars. These old guys now do not have the hunger because they are probably satisfied in life. Also they dont seem to have the stamina. Above all what i hate is that the fielding suffers. we have seen what the youngsters like Rohit, Virat and others brought to the ODI games played recently in the field. regarding VVS i feel he should have been straight away dropped. Regarding Dravid & SRT they should have retired long back. Atleast SRT had a golden opportuinty after the WC 2011 success. Dravid should have done the same after his succes in Eng. They have all missed the bus, now all of them have to go on a low.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on January 26, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    A mediocre series between two middle-ranking teams.

  • on January 26, 2012, 21:29 GMT

    I would suggest bring back rohit sharma, chatteshwar pujara.. Make them play on these tracks. They have already proved their mettle in first class cricket. Its time for them to do something to India! Just by giving one or two chance, will not make them good cricketers. They have to be on the field, they should play their hearts out! Kohli is indeed an amazing cricketer. The best thing I like about him is, he has never changed! During under 19 he had the same aggressiveness. That's what his strength is. I disagree with Sanjay Manjrekar's twitter comment too. He is what he is, let him be. He is performing and delivering to India. Everybody cannot be lakshman or sachin who just raise their bat and give a smile upon reaching century. He is what he is. Get that fact right..

  • Al_Bundy1 on January 26, 2012, 21:19 GMT

    Save Indian cricket - get rid of Dravid, Laxman, and Tendulkar NOW. Kohli is proof that there's no shortage of talent in India. Give chances to Rahane, Rohit, Manoj, Mukund, Pujara, etc. Even if only 2 or 3 of them click, they along with Kohli can form the base. They are young and hungry - they will win, or at least go down fighting - unlike these seniors who are too old to put up a fight.

  • on January 26, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    good he succeeded but why aren't others given as many chances, Kaif was thrown out despite scoring 148* in his 2nd last match

  • sidsathya on January 26, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    Raina dosent have the temperment of a test batsmen Kholi is youger than Suresh so he may have more talent. While Rohit NEEDS to play his debut in the test world.

  • MitenD on January 26, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    What Kohli has done at the age of 23 on the international stage is nothing short of outstanding. He needs to be carefully handled and given an extended run in a cemented position in the test side. I see him as an ideal #4 batsman, perhaps slotted in between two experienced players. This way he comes in when the ball has lost some shine and he can have better success with his stroke-play. Dravid is still India's best option at #3 - the toughest batting position in test cricket. No one in the team has his technical capabilities and powers of concentration. He may not have looked the part in Australia but he was our best batsman just 4 tests ago in England where the ball was really moving around. As for Tendulkar, it's considered sacrilege to talk about him in a negative light so I won't. It pains me to say this but Laxman needs to go. I love the guy but he looks out of form, out of shape and every bit a past-his-prime 37 year old. India need to look ahead and the time is now.

  • on January 26, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    It's a bit rash to call for Sachin's head. He has been playing well relative to the rest of his teammates sans Kohli. Sachin has the second highest average and aggregate runs for the Indians during this series.

    However, Indians do need an infusion of youth and the solution lies in dropping Laxman and Dravid. Laxman should be dropped immediately for Rohit and Dravid deserves another series to be eased out in terms of Rahane. This would also allow Sehwag or Gambhir to drop a little down the order. Rahane, Gambhir, Kohli, SRT, Sehwag, Rohit, Saha, Ashwin, two of [Ohja, Irfan, Praveen Kumar or Yadav], and Zaheer is a good combination of youth and experience and should be a solid batting lineup.

    Ishant should also be a prime candidate to be dropped if he does not bowl a consistent(ly fuller) line at that better length.

  • pirki on January 26, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Kohli starts the test with century for loosing cause. I remember the curious case of brian lara. most centuries in the defeats. is he a new lara. will he break the record of most centuries in defeats. i dont see any talent in india to help kohli to win the games for india. I wish he scores in every match and india lose every match.

  • Rahulbose on January 26, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    Kohli has been given his chance at the right moment. After early success in ODI this was perfect for him to get settled into test cricket. If only India had done the same with likes of Yuvraj and Kaif.

  • on January 26, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    Future of Indian Cricket !

  • priceless1 on January 26, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    the only Indian to do so in this Test series.- lolz...:))

  • myStraightTalk on January 26, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    We cannot wait and see for the BCCI to fire the underperforming people in the team,staff and selection comitte. We need to raise more voice so that some action will be taken ASAP. Media also do the job based on our feedback.

  • nyc_missile on January 26, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    Sid-please dont join the bandwagon of the party-poopers and self-righteous cricket 'peacenicks'.What is this non-sense about celebrations being aggressive,why cant the man vent his emotions esp when its physically harmless,whats wrong with a bit of flair and honest human expressions particularly when surrounded by hyena-like aussies trying to pick on a youngster nearing a milestone..I have heard enough of this condemnation by Gavaskar & Bhogle, sorry but we need more Ganguly's and not Dhoni's,time to meet fire with fire,not benign and spineless silence even when an opponent is knifing you disdainfully..This is what happened to Sreesanth too,the idiot Dhoni failed to stand u to his own teammate and chose to demean him publicly,this guy has utterly&totally destroyed Indian test cricket.

  • MasterClass on January 26, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    @plod - I'm not going to comment on the sledging and who did what or not, because who cares. But you mentioned that Aus scored 600 as proof they could not have been frustrated. That's just wrong, and assuming you're an Aus fan, a poor understanding of your own team. The Aus team expects to win every ball, every moment, every second. That's what makes them so competitive, and it's not a bad thing at all. That's what makes them come out believing they can knock over a team with only 100 on the board. Or turn around a bad situation with counter attacking batting. Or step on an opponents neck when they are already down. The best teams just don't let up. So yes they were frustrated. I'm glad India was finally able to do that, and equally I don't expect Aus to respond any differently. They showed desperation to win even when up 3-0! Wish my team and Captain had shown the same desperation and maybe thing could have been more equal, but you've gotta love this game.

  • on January 26, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    well...so much about why the seniors should not be dropped and some have even wrtten that these men do not know when to retire...well going by the same logic we also are equally flippant in getting to conclusions. noone asked questions about age when they were performing and to bring that as a reason is quite ludicrous. They have served well and if they are not performing .....axe them or maybe even have a word with them before announcing if they would want a more amicable way of sitting out...but to bring age into this argument as a reason or them to be dropped is a bit too much.

  • razorhedge on January 26, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    WHEN will these oldies retire. It's high time. 8 losses in a row. I'm sure any non-test playing nation would have put up a better fight than this. SHAMEFUL

    Pujara, Rohit Sharma NEED to be inserted into this team NOW. Let them succeed\fail and do that grind for atleast an YEAR. I would rather see us lose 8 tests with young guys than these stubborn old fading stars .

  • on January 26, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    @Akbar Mirza - You are crazy to say that Laxman will not be considered a great of Indian cricket or the world. The world hasn't seen too many people play Shane Warne and lesser leg spinners better or atleast as well as him, barring Lara and Sachin. There haven't been too many players who have had the ability to play match-winning knocks consistently, not even Sachin. Lara was one. Be it his 281 vs Australia or 109 vs Sri Lanka or 90-odd vs Australia while chasing 200-odd or his 178 in a 353 partnership with Sachin in 2003-04 series and many more, the class and elegance with which he has played, has undoubtedly made him a great of cricket!!!

  • on January 26, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    Now, with the completion of series, the strengths and weaknesses of Indian Cricketing Gods are crystal clear. There is no point in continuing Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Ishant, etc.. in the team. Why Sachin is being continued in the team in spite of his dismal performance? Is it to achieve his personal records? At what cost? The National Selection Committee owes explanation to the Nation. I request the Government not to pay any amount to the cricketers for this series. They do not deserve any payment for this performance.

  • akbarbirbal007 on January 26, 2012, 16:56 GMT

    when you are 38-39 your reflexes are slow you have to accept your age,you cant play forever.Dravid getting bowled is a perfect example to this,the one who was and once called wall has know become berlin wall.Can't understand the credibility of the selectors they were quick to advice ganguly to take retirement,when he was at his peak remember he hit a double century just before retiring but our captain cool had some other problems. whats then keeping them from doing same with laxman-dravid.You should have same yardstick to gauge everyones performances. For chika you too wont be there just like the players forever time for you to step up and show some wisdom or else people will only remember you as someone who didn't had gut to take bold decisions,was just happy with the way CSK were performing.

  • akbarbirbal007 on January 26, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Kohli's innings showed how well we will be performing if we infuse fresh blood in the team..Rohit sharma should have been picked instead of laxman it would have provided more strength to the batting also he could have contributed with his more than useful off spin even if he had failed he would have learned a lot playing in these conditions atleast Look in austrailia players are axed quickly if they dont perform latest casualty being of cameron white who was their T20 captain but was shown the door after his poor form in big bash,in india players dont know when to retire they have to be shown the door time to bring on pujara,badrinathin place of laxman-Dravid.

  • Al_Bundy1 on January 26, 2012, 16:27 GMT

    It's time for LAX, Dravid and Sehwag to go. DROP them immediately. Laxman and Dravid are at or over retirement age in active sports, which is generally considered to be around 37-38. 10dulkar can be dropped after the ODI series. Success of Kohli has proved that we have plenty of young talent in India. We need to give a chance to Rahane, Rohit, Mukund, Manoj, Pujara, etc. to find out who belongs. Get rid of over-hyped Ishant and try Ashok Dinda, TP Sudhindra, or Irfan Pathan instead. Please no more Vinay Kumar.

  • on January 26, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    A cricket selector/ administrator/ team think tank would do good by spending 30 mintues a day reading through the comments left on cricinfo by ardent cricket lovers in India! We are the people who supporters of the team, the players and want good for team India. There are so many good suggestions; some understandably quite sentimental and some very pragmatic. It's incredible as I agree with most people that it's time the old gaurd made way for the young turks. Mr. Sehwag, let Kohli bat at No.3. Allow Dravid to come in to bat after the top 4 have worn out the new ball as much as possible. Mr. Laxman, please retire! You have done great things (Calcutta 2001), but you are a spent force. Please don't aloow the selectors to dump you ignominously! Follow suit Mr. Dravid. We all love you, but it time you allow the Kohlis, the Pujaras and the Sharmas to hold up the mantle. We don't play an away test for almost 2 years during which a new breed of fearless and effective cricketers are needed.

  • Babloo3544 on January 26, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    People going overboad in praise of Rahane and Rohit even before they have played any test!!! Thats the nature of the Indian fans. None of the so called new 'talents' - Kohli, Rohit, Rahane have the capability to play swing and bounce, they barely managed to hang on in the Windies thanks to dropped catches from the poor Windies fielders. I agree Kohli did better than other Indian batsmen, but its still way poorer than you would expect from an Australian bowling attack that suffered a defeat to NZ. This Aus attack is not even close to what England have and look at Kohli dancing around with the slightest bit of swing and bounce. None of the players will improve unless they stop playing IPL and spend some time in the English counties. How do you expect to answers questions in an exam from a chapter without even reading it ?

  • ElPhenomeno on January 26, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    I do think dravid and laxman will call it a day after this australian vacation. Tendulkar is the holy cow of indian cricket, or cricket in general, so he will go when he will go. I think youngsters should join but to be honest no one really has knocked the door down. You could argue if india has to lose its better to lose with young ones. Its valid. India should look for a decent opener to work with gambhir and move sehwag down the order. Sehwag is a hand-eye player and age is catching up with him as well.

  • MrSlickJerk on January 26, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    Virat kohli has definitely shown promise as a future test player. But cant put Laxman down either. He wasn't just lucky. He has done a great job during his time and he was one of the best test players of the world.

  • on January 26, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    time turned,now its time for kohli to shine as wall

  • SamRoy on January 26, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Dravid getting bowled every time means his reflexes and eye-sight have deserted him. Needs to retire now. Laxman ought to retire. No point in continuing any longer. If Tendulkar gets his 100th hundred in the ODI series Indian team can give him a grand farewell for his services by immediately dropping him.

  • on January 26, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    With all due respect, Kohli showed that he belonged in Perth on a trickier wicket. It just goes to show how the might have fallen that the other bats couldn't even get to 50 on this road. IMO, Dhoni should be given an extended time away from the captaincy and cricket to get his hunger back and Saha looks like a good candidate for replacement.

  • moBlue on January 26, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    @sports4Youth: laxman has not performed in SA? he single-handedly won us a test match in durban... with his batting, i mean... the bowlers bowled well too. in fact, lax was responsible for turning that series around after IND had lost by an inning and plenty in the first test in SA. you are entitled to your own opinions, of course, but not to your own facts. lax has failed in 2 test tours, ENG and now AUS, over the last 2 or 3 years but not in any other test series, home or away. that is it.

  • moBlue on January 26, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    @Akbar Mirza: perhaps you are not a close follower of indian cricket over the last 10 years? laxman will "never even be considered a great of IND cricket", you say? well, i am a huge IND fan since the mid-70's. i watched IND lose many a test match they should have won during gavaskar's days, and watched IND turn similarly abject during tendulkar's heyday. guess what? laxman turned IND around! his 281 did wonders to indian cricket [confidence] and it also started the world champion team, AUS on the slide that they have yet to recover from. you could not be more wrong, my friend, when you say laxman would never even be considered a great player in IND. we indian fans worship lax almost as much as we do sachin, and in fact, in the ;ast 10 years, we relied on lax to rescue us in the second inning *more* than we relied on sachin, and guess what? lax invariably came through! even in the last 2 years, he single-handedly won us tests in SA, one in SL n one against AUS in IND! he's da bomb, yo!

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    @ rahulcricket007 .. i agree with you that indian cricket will rise, but i want to correct that with the talent mentioned by you (Rohit, Pujara & Rahane) India will rise in less than a year. Look at Pak their batsmen are not as talented yet they rose phenomenally, and now giving a tough time to Eng. Also see how Virat has proven himself in the limited opportunities provided to him. India definately has more circketeting talent than any other country in the word. And as far as batting talent is concerned India is unmatchable. Bowling may be wanting a bit.

  • on January 26, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    I don't get what this article is about; is it about how good, & talented Kohli actually is, OR how good Indians thought Laxman was?! After every sentence you mention Laxman... Come on, it's Kohli's time now; Laxman had his moments, but will NEVER even be considered a great of Indian cricket, let alone the world!

  • on January 26, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    Duncan Fletcher, Eric Simons and their imported sidekicks should also go. Forthwith. If they don't resign, they should be sacked. The senior cricketers will NOT resign.They live on hope. Hope for a "better tomorrow". Better for whom? They need to be dropped. I thought that at least the senior support staff had the sensibilities to accept their futile presence and leave on their own, gracefully. Let us wait and see.

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    @ SamRoy .. thanx for the correction. Virat's firs class average is 49.68 (source -cricinfo) - http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-india-2011/content/player/253802.html . . But what i mean in the longer version Rahane and Rohit still average way above them. They have proven year after year in the domestic circuit by soring loads of runs and Tons. let us not judge them by one or two isolated performances. they also have to get over the early nerves. But please check these records and decide if they deserve a decent opportunity. Ajinkya Rahane - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/277916.html & Rohit Sharma - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/34102.html

  • on January 26, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    Um what? He belongs? Im pretty sure the same was said about another Indian name Suresh Raina when he scored his 1st Test Century and now he's not even in the squad!

  • plod on January 26, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Biased reporting. We bowled India out for 272 on a very very batsman friendly wicket. Sure give credit to Kohli. But to infer that Kohli was innocent in the sledging incident is clearly incorrect. He said in the press conference that he reacted meaning he sledge back when Hilfenhaus questioned him on his panic to get a hundred . Mr. Monga I haven't seen any reporting from you about Kohli, Sharma and Khan's sledging earlier in the Test series. Mmma, I wonder why that is? How flustered were Australia to bowl out India for 272 when we made 600?

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    @ DingDong420 .. i totally agree with you. As of today Dravid is aged 39 yrs and 15 days. Tendulkar 38 yrs, 277 days and Laxman 37 yrs, 86 days. Dravid and Tendulkar should have retiried two years back and their vacancies should have been setteled by now. Had it been the case by now we would be looking for replacements forr Laxman. Now more importantly if these players do not know when to walk away, the selectors should have the guts of dropping them one by one, so that youth could be blooded one by one in a gradual manner. But now we have mssed the bus and suddenly all of them have started misfiring at the same time. Obviously age is showing on them. Actually this was long comming. Laxman has not performed in SA, Eng & now Australia. Laxman has been having a very poor last two years except in home conditions against week opponents like WI & NZ. India play the next test match after 7-8 months, by then Dravid will be 39 yrs, 8 months, Sachin about 39 yrs 5 months. What do we expect.

  • on January 26, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    indians dont deserve to talk in the press conference,prove it by saving this test match

  • on January 26, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    If we were to interview the Indian test selectors my question would be what is their reluctance to blood new, young players and refuse to bench the likes of Sehwag and Laxman who have performed poorly for several matches now. I think the reason they persist with them and stick with the old guard is because they are overly sentimental. They think cricket is all about stats. The selectors and the Indian people are proud of the fact their top 5 batsman have averages over 40+ and have scored loads and loads of centuries between them. This is all India care abouts. They clearly dont want to win test matches. They just want to have inflated batting averages just so they can say "I've got 100 international hundreds" or "I'm the second highest run scorer in India". All of this really is madness. They want to appear great on paper and strive for this achievement rather than ACTUALLY WINNING. It is clear also in their body language. They dont care.Win,loose, draw.No matter.Personal glory!

  • on January 26, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    Time for Lax & Dravid to retire or be retired. They may play significant innings again, but only at the cost of the new guard that must be put in place ASAP. Dhoni must be rotated out of the Test team; his playing & captaincy are mediocre in Tests. Tendulkar has earned the right to leave on his own terms in a year or so & Sehwag deserves a few more chances in the middle order. Gambhir still has a lot to give this team IMO. Blood Rohit, Raina, Saha, Jadeja & Pujara. Irfan & Yuvraj deserve a 2nd chance. All should be forced to confront their shortcomings against the short delivery, and at least learn to move out of the way without looking in fear & away throwing their bats at the rising ball! All young aspiring fast bowlers must be sent to play in the English leagues. Just one season turned Zaheer from a promising wannabe (just as Sreesanth, RP, Munaf, Balaji and now Ishant are today) into a potent strike weapon. Or get a decent hardworking coach, like Wasim Akram or Kapil Dev.

  • on January 26, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    Great knock by this chap. Why do they persevere with the pensioners? Tendulkar has been outclassed by one of his own team mates and clarke and ponting. This hundred hundreds thing was a distraction.

  • SamRoy on January 26, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    @SportsYouth Where the hell did you get wrong stats about Kohli. Please don't print Raina and Yuvraj's stats in Kohli's name. He averages more than 50 in first class cricket. Rahane didn't look comfortable in either of the two practice games he got a chance to play (even though I wanted him to play in the Adelaide test) and Kohli scored half the team's runs in one of them. Rohit obviously looks more comfortable and accomplished than Kohli and it was really horrible that Dravid, Laxman or Tendulkar didn't sacrifice their place to give Rohit some experiance at Australian conditions in the best ground for batting in Australia. Extremely selfish move. A blot on the careers of all three.

  • on January 26, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    it is time to clean house....all of them should be dropped move...maybe not a bad idea to drop most of them and give captaincy to say young kohli for test like say what south africa did with smith... Rahane/pujara/sharma/Kohli/saha i am sure cannot lose worse than this old feeble line up did in last one year

  • on January 26, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    It's really funny to get this sort of articles once an Indian batsman gets a century...Clarke and Ponting made doubles....nobody got a mention or a praise equivalent to that one....

  • rahulcricket007 on January 26, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    @DAVID WARNER . AFTER PERTH TESTS YOU SAID IN AN INTERVIEW THAT WHAT WILL BE THE CONDITION OF INDIAN TEAM WHEN SACHIN , DRAVID, , LAXMAN WILL RETIRE ? DOES INDIA HAVE YOUNGSTERS TO FILL IN THEIR BOOTS ???? HERE IS YOUR ANSWER WARNER . WE HAD ENOUGH YOUNG BATTING TALENTS IN INDIA . YOU HAD SEEN ONLY ONE OF THEM , SOME OTHERS ( ROHIT , PUJARA , RAHANE) ARE STILL WAITING FOR THEIR CHANCES . I M SURE INDIAN TEST CRICKET WILL RISE AGAIN WITHIN 2 YEARS .

  • on January 26, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    Why every critic are so eager to phase only Dravid and Laxman why not Sachin.His record for last year is same as Laxman's.He's old too.Now he's blocking place of youngsters for achieving a silly feat hyped by Media. Our bowling is too week,we can compare them to likes of Bangladesh or WI.The focused should be on change in Captaincy,bringing effective coach.If player are getting injured after playing a single series than its not a sign of fatigue,Its sign of playing unnecessary cricket which is not bringing any glory to India.The real cricket will always be a test cricket.

  • SasiGladi on January 26, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    I woke up in the morning to watch Sachin batting alone but not hoping him to get century he disappointed (no anger on him as he cherished us very long time)....but its Kohli who realy batted like our aged legends what a treat to watch if other batters had the same intent it should have been a wonderful series as expected but we got fooled.....not to miss Saha batting he showed the character little training he can be in test format if Dhoni moves out next year..

  • DingDong420 on January 26, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    I don't really understand what is going on with Indian Selectors, why not blood in Rohit. Laxman should've been dropped.....

    Until the selectors change then India are doomed, we have a good generation of youngsters nobody expects them to be great next week, but surely getting beaten and learning is better than what we have seen.

    Right now Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Laxman's positions be under threat with Tendulkar not far behind.

  • Gizza on January 26, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Completely agree @IndiaNumeroUno. The likes of Laxman, Zaheer, Tendulkar and Dravid need to go soon (12 months max) if not now. Then Sehwag within 12-24 months and that too in the middle order until that point. Dhoni and Ishant should be dropped now. Dhoni probably never again for Tests. Ishant needs to learn the right line and length to get actual wickets and not just look good. Then the likes of Rohit Sharma, Vijay, Rahane, Karthik/Saha, Praveen Kumar, Aaron, Mithun and Ojha can slot in and form the next nexus of Indian cricket. I think a few more names will be added to this in 2-3 years time. But the current stranglehold by the pensioners has to end.

  • on January 26, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    Ray of hope for Indian cricket, and we can thank God for that! It is such a shame that Rohit Sharma had to sit on the bench throughout the test series. With the series decided, one really wonders why we had the inward looking selection policies of persisting with some of the players who have entered the sunset of their careers yet fail to see that. Come on guys, what have we got to lose? Play Rohit Sharma, play Rahane, play other young chaps. Move ahead. If you dont, you stagnate. And then others overtake you. India has been pathetic this series. Worse than minnows. Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Zaheer, Ishant should be shown the door. NOW!

  • on January 26, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    The guy wears his heart on the sleeve. But he's done something to be proud of. The nucleus of next generation test match batting must be built around Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara. Now if Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane can show the same sort of hunger and technical fortitude at top level as they do at first-class level...Crucially now, it's the opening slots where we have some serious deficit. Sehwag and Gambhir would continue for a bit. But we'd need to find a good bench - given that Murali Vijay, Karthick haven't quite grabbed their chances. On the bowling front Yadav, and Sharma aren't in bad shape but wonder how long Ishant Sharma would need to discover ways to buy wickets, ditto for Pragyan Ojha.

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    Virat has a first class average of 44, yet he was lucky do get selected ahead of A.Rahane (avg.68) and R.Sharm (63) becouse of his ODI form. Now from this we can gather that if Virat can do well with his aggression, the same can be said about Rahane and Rohit. The seniors have lost the fire.

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    @ IndiaNumeroUno ... you got got it on the dot, the Matuerd boys are now over-riped. when they performed they were classified as youth. now they are too old for competitive sport. They cant be selected for ever just because they had performed when they were young.

  • on January 26, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    Definitely it has been an wonderful performance down under scoring his maiden test ton but just signs of lots of good to come from an exceptionally talented Virat. It is high time for team management to ask kohli bat at 3 and find some better options in middle of the lineup. Laxman, Dravid still a class act but aging has got better of these legends. Rohit sharma another talented cricketer stage is wonderfully set for him to make his mark into the test side. Shah can keep Dhoni on his heal but for now i don see that happening.

  • whyowhy on January 26, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Why did'nt he take the field when Australia batted ? Was it a comfort break for seven overs ? this is not permitted and I wonder why the umpires allowed it. Mr.Madugalle please take note............if the younger indiand do this what will tendulkar do if he scores a double century like Ponting ??

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Now the crictics of Virat will be silenced. Now Virat has announced himself on this stage and no.6 spot on which Yuvi (many times) and Raina were tried for long long, belongs to Virataa Kohli. One job completed successfully. Atleast now i hope the selectors will start looking for replacements for the other senior players.

  • jmcilhinney on January 26, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Congratulations to Kohli. I've felt for some time that he had the potential to be a very good test batsman and I'm glad that India didn't sacrifice him on this tour. His performance is all the more impressive given how dismal the team performance has been. I think that he's done enough now to get an extended run but India really need to find a way to get Rohit Sharma into the side so I wonder whether it might be curtains for Laxman. I really think that India need to phase their greats out gradually because losing Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman all at the same time would be just too much. Tendulkar has looked OK this tour even if he hasn't scored a lot of runs While Dravid has lookedpretty bad here but was the very good in England. Laxman hasn't scored in England or Australia so he's the obvious choice to go first. You'd think that a discussion between him and the powers that be would be in order after this tour.

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    Superb performance. After all it is the youth who has performed. Virat and Saha both have played a monumental innings. Both of them will remember this partnership for a long long time. After all team india have played both, Draviid and VVS. I must admit i was thoroughly dissapointed by the selection of this XI. Alteast one of them should have been benched and A.Rahane or R.Sharma should have been played.

  • indianpunter on January 26, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    Well done, Kohli ! but lets not forget the bigger picture.It has been clear for sometime now that the seniors in the team are not pulling their weight. The erstwhile "assets" have now become huge liabilities and its time for them to move on, or else be dropped. Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag have to go out right now. Its unbelievable that the first 2 havent yet called time on their careers. Everyone saw today that youth, when given backing and confidence, prosper. The elder statesmen lack the bottle for a fight, no motivation to go on and are physically unable to last 5 days ( creaking terminators, how apt !!). More importantly, their continued presence in the team makes it hard for anyone to make the hard calls and risk annoying the all powerful "senior coterie".

  • on January 26, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    A more than decent knock from Kohli, with more to come in the future. Congrats.

  • Potatis on January 26, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    Really great performance by Kohli, he looks like a great prospect for India's future. If he wins the mental game, he'll be a great fighter in times when a big knock is needed. He needs to bat higher though, #3 or #4 so he can have more impact on the game by batting longer innings and not stranded by the tail too soon.

  • SL_BiggestJoke on January 26, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    Remove the seniors and bring in the boys... they have matured!!

    Dravid//Laxman/Sehwag/Gambhir - OUT Rohit/Ajinkya/Jadeja/ Raina - IN

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • SL_BiggestJoke on January 26, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    Remove the seniors and bring in the boys... they have matured!!

    Dravid//Laxman/Sehwag/Gambhir - OUT Rohit/Ajinkya/Jadeja/ Raina - IN

  • Potatis on January 26, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    Really great performance by Kohli, he looks like a great prospect for India's future. If he wins the mental game, he'll be a great fighter in times when a big knock is needed. He needs to bat higher though, #3 or #4 so he can have more impact on the game by batting longer innings and not stranded by the tail too soon.

  • on January 26, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    A more than decent knock from Kohli, with more to come in the future. Congrats.

  • indianpunter on January 26, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    Well done, Kohli ! but lets not forget the bigger picture.It has been clear for sometime now that the seniors in the team are not pulling their weight. The erstwhile "assets" have now become huge liabilities and its time for them to move on, or else be dropped. Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag have to go out right now. Its unbelievable that the first 2 havent yet called time on their careers. Everyone saw today that youth, when given backing and confidence, prosper. The elder statesmen lack the bottle for a fight, no motivation to go on and are physically unable to last 5 days ( creaking terminators, how apt !!). More importantly, their continued presence in the team makes it hard for anyone to make the hard calls and risk annoying the all powerful "senior coterie".

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    Superb performance. After all it is the youth who has performed. Virat and Saha both have played a monumental innings. Both of them will remember this partnership for a long long time. After all team india have played both, Draviid and VVS. I must admit i was thoroughly dissapointed by the selection of this XI. Alteast one of them should have been benched and A.Rahane or R.Sharma should have been played.

  • jmcilhinney on January 26, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Congratulations to Kohli. I've felt for some time that he had the potential to be a very good test batsman and I'm glad that India didn't sacrifice him on this tour. His performance is all the more impressive given how dismal the team performance has been. I think that he's done enough now to get an extended run but India really need to find a way to get Rohit Sharma into the side so I wonder whether it might be curtains for Laxman. I really think that India need to phase their greats out gradually because losing Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman all at the same time would be just too much. Tendulkar has looked OK this tour even if he hasn't scored a lot of runs While Dravid has lookedpretty bad here but was the very good in England. Laxman hasn't scored in England or Australia so he's the obvious choice to go first. You'd think that a discussion between him and the powers that be would be in order after this tour.

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Now the crictics of Virat will be silenced. Now Virat has announced himself on this stage and no.6 spot on which Yuvi (many times) and Raina were tried for long long, belongs to Virataa Kohli. One job completed successfully. Atleast now i hope the selectors will start looking for replacements for the other senior players.

  • whyowhy on January 26, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Why did'nt he take the field when Australia batted ? Was it a comfort break for seven overs ? this is not permitted and I wonder why the umpires allowed it. Mr.Madugalle please take note............if the younger indiand do this what will tendulkar do if he scores a double century like Ponting ??

  • on January 26, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    Definitely it has been an wonderful performance down under scoring his maiden test ton but just signs of lots of good to come from an exceptionally talented Virat. It is high time for team management to ask kohli bat at 3 and find some better options in middle of the lineup. Laxman, Dravid still a class act but aging has got better of these legends. Rohit sharma another talented cricketer stage is wonderfully set for him to make his mark into the test side. Shah can keep Dhoni on his heal but for now i don see that happening.

  • Sports4Youth on January 26, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    @ IndiaNumeroUno ... you got got it on the dot, the Matuerd boys are now over-riped. when they performed they were classified as youth. now they are too old for competitive sport. They cant be selected for ever just because they had performed when they were young.