There seems no end of India's batting woes in the Test series in England. After losing the first Test by a small margin of 31-runs in Edgbaston, India's struggle with the bat continued in the second Test at Lords Cricket Ground, London.
After the day one of the second Test completely washed out due to rain, it took only 35.2 overs to England to bowled out India on 107 on another rain-interrupted day two. England's bowlers led by James Anderson's 5 for 20 took full advantage of overcast conditions.
Former West Indies' captain Clive Lloyd said that India should play ugly cricket to be successful in these conditions. One of the greatest captains of all time was speaking to ET and had plenty to say about India's batting and personally about Virat Kohli.
When the conditions are all stacked in favour of the bowlers, what do you do as a batsman?
You bat ugly. That’s what you need to do and also hope that you have the luck on your side. It isn’t easy to bat in these conditions, especially when a bowler like James Anderson is bowling at you. But as a batsman you have to tell yourself that you will be patient, you will take blows on your body, you will be prepared to play and miss and yet not give your wicket away. Virat Kohli did exactly that at Edgbaston. He was not great to look at but he was hugely effective. That’s what you want from your best player and that’s what you need from your other batsmen.
Are you implying that Virat is a few notches higher in comparison to the other batsmen?
He is a rockstar. A player of tremendous quality but that doesn’t mean the others aren’t good enough or can’t stand out there and help out the captain. You needed one more man to bat ugly to win the Test at Edgbaston. One man to just tell himself that comes what I will not get out. It is a question of resolve and determination. Of courage and conviction. Cricket isn’t an easy sport and these conditions are as difficult as they can ever be. But that’s where you need to excel as a batsman to qualify as a great. Virat has done that and that’s what I am trying to tell you.
Coming to Virat the leader. You have been the most successful cricket captain of all time. How do you look at Virat as captain?
I like his style and like seeing him conduct himself as captain. Every captain is different and will have his own style. I had once asked Malcolm Marshall, who had a broken hand if he would still risk playing? Marshall did and got five wickets for me. Will Virat do the same of his players? Maybe not. The question that is of paramount importance here is how much trust the players have in Virat and vice-versa. I can say my players trusted me wholeheartedly and I did the same with each and every one of them. You can never be a successful captain and get the best out of your team if you don’t trust each other to the fullest. That’s what Virat will have to do as captain — get his players to trust him with their life. I see a lot of potential in him and I hope he will get better with time.
If you were in Virat’s position, would you have played your premier bowlers in the IPL or would you speak to the BCCI and withdraw them from the IPL to keep them fresh for the 2019 World Cup?
I have a very straightforward answer for you. The nation comes first. India comes first. IPL will come every year. If Virat and the management feels you need a certain bowler and the IPL may exhaust him or burn him out, you have to ensure he doesn’t play the IPL in World Cup year. Arthur Ashe once came to Melbourne and seeing 90,000 people in the stadium said to me, you guys must be millionaires. I said we get $500 per game.
Modern players make enough money and there is every reason that they should. But when it is a toss-up between the World Cup and the IPL and when you know you might not be at your best for the World Cup, you have to sacrifice franchise cricket. If you win the World Cup for your country you will qualify in the category of a cricketing legend. No number of franchise league wins can get you up there.
India is 1-0 down in 5-match series. To win this Test series, India will have bat well in rest of the remaining matches. Apart from skipper Virat Kohli, no other Indian batsmen looked to score runs against England's bowling attack in the first Test and resulted in, they failed to chase down 194 and lost the match by 31-runs.