Legendary wicketkeeper-batsman Farokh Engineer has cautioned not to get carried away with Team India’s recent success in Test cricket under Virat Kohli.
India is yet to lose a series under Kohli’s captaincy since he led the team against Sri Lanka in 2015 which was his first full series as captain. India had gone on to bounce back from the defeat in the first Test to win the series 2-1 which was their first Test series win in Sri Lanka in 22 years. It was followed by an impressive 3-0 win over South Africa at home.
Virat Kohli & Co. then followed it up by a highly successful 2016-17 home season where they had defeated West Indies (2-0), New Zealand (3-0), England (4-0), Bangladesh (1-0) and Australia (2-1). Currently ranked number one in Test cricket, India extended its winning streak with another impressive 3-0 win against Sri Lanka last month.
However, with the majority of the wins coming in friendly conditions, Engineer feels the team is yet to get tested, and it will face the real challenge when it tours England next year.
“The present Indian team are very good indeed,” Engineer said at Lancashire’s Old Trafford headquarters. “Virat Kohli is an excellent captain; MS Dhoni is looking fitter than ever, Ravichandran Ashwin is one of the great off-spinners, (Ravi) Jadeja, we’ve got a very good team, Murali Vijay, the opening batsman.”
“They have been scoring a lot of runs against Sri Lanka, but the true test will be when they come to England. Don’t get carried away by the performance against Sri Lanka, against Australia we are doing pretty well, but that’s in India again,” he added.
Part of the Indian team that registered the first series win in England, the former cricketer said England has always been a challenging venue for every player and Indian players are no different.
“India’s real test comes when they go abroad, especially England. England is the true test for any cricketer, and Indian cricketers are no exception,” he said. “You need a real sound technique to play in England where the ball moves about a lot more, both in the air and off the pitch. Your technique is really stretched to the limit — it sorts the men out from the boys.”
Well, India will not have to wait for the England series to test themselves, as they are set to visit South Africa in January for a full-fledged series consisting of three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is. India is yet to win to win a Test series in South Africa, and the high-flying Indian team will be desperate to break that duck.