Virat Kohli’s decision to field first in the ICC Champions Trophy final against Pakistan did not go down well with a majority of folks. Plainly speaking, with a clear sky over the head and a flat track on offer, everyone wanted India to bat first, put a good total on the board and then crush Pakistan under pressure.
Kohli has been facing some backlash from experts and former cricketers for this decision since the night India lost the Champions Trophy. England legend Geoffrey Boycott has emerged as the most recent critic of the Indian captain.
He felt that the decision to bowl first defied logic.
“England’s best batting pitch” and that cost India the opportunity to retain the crown they won in 2013 by beating England,” Boycott wrote in his column for TOI.
“Despite all that has been said and written about India’s embarrassing no-show against Pakistan at the Oval, I still have that one overriding question: why, for the love of God, would you offer the opposition first use of England’s best batting pitch, on a day when the sun was shining and there wasn’t a speck of cloud anywhere?
The 76-year-old concludes that Kohli “dug India’s grave” with his tactical blunder which let Pakistan gain a position of strength and eventually run away with the trophy.
“No matter who he may have consulted before the toss, the ultimate on-field decision is taken by the captain, and it is he who must take the blame. By putting Pakistan in to bat, Virat Kohli allowed them to get on top, and dug India’s grave.”
Virat Kohli has accepted the defeat gracefully and admitted the flaws. But sensibly, the Champions Trophy 2017 has become a thing of past. The focus now shifts to the limited-overs series against West Indies
Kohli’s side will begin their five-match ODI series on Friday (June 23) and conclude with the solitary T20I on July 9 at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago. West Indies, currently ranked 9th are on the verge of a relegation, will be mighty nervous ahead of the series, as they will be facing the wounded Indian side at a time when the automatic qualification scenario for the 2019 Cricket World Cup is looming large over their head.