Last Updated: January 30, 2024, 10:21 IST
Virat Kohli is expected to be back for the third Test. (Pic Credit: Sportzpics)
Virat Kohli opted out from the first two Tests of the ongoing five-match series at home against England due to personal reasons.
Defying the predictions, England have made a terrific start to their tour of India with a 28-run win in Hyderabad, a result that was unexpected if not shocking considering how dominant the hosts have been in their own conditions.
With an inexperienced spin attack comprising a debutant and another who had played just one Test before Hyderabad contest, England got the better of India that fielded two world-class spinners – Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
The last time England won a Test series in India was in 2012 and their spinner Monty Panesar played a prominent role with 17 wickets from three games.
However, the manner in which England bounced back in the Hyderabad Test after falling behind in the opening two days, it has raised their hopes that they can indeed beat India in their own backyard.
Panesar termed it as a ‘very big victory’ for England but added that India skipper Rohit Sharma appeared clueless in the series opener and that they have to put the tourists under pressure.
“It is a very big victory, no one even imagined this was even possible. Everyone thought that England would lose after a 190 deficit but Ollie Pope had a brilliant inning one of the best innings we have seen in a long time and Rohit Sharma was clueless,” Panesar told news agency ANI.
“India need to stop giving the freedom that the England players are getting,” he added.
The 41-year-old feels that India are missing the fierce intensity of a Virat Kohli who has withdrawn from the first two Tests due to personal reasons.
“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 (England) would still play without the fear of failure,” Panesar said.
“Virat Kohli has that presence and intensity, which is missing currently in the India team. Virat Kohli has that aura and presence. If England win 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,” he added.