Former Australia captain Ian Chappell hailed the Indian Test side for their all-round capabilities and “substantial depth” after they put up yet another outstanding show on an overseas tour under Virat Kohli.
The England-India Test series saw the visitors outplay the hosts at Lord’s and The Oval to take an unbeatable 2-1 lead before the fifth and final match was called off in Manchester due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the visiting camp.
India were clearly the superior side in the series despite England playing in their home conditions.
Each and every player who got a chance to play for India stood up for the team on one or more occasions to help them take the upper hand which is why the visitors were the favourites to win the series instead of hosts England.
Chappell, who has been vocal in his admiration for this Indian team, heaped praise on Kohli’s side once again and also gave his opinion on what could be their best combination, according to him.
“There’s no doubt that India are a very good all-round team. They have conclusively proved it by winning consecutive series in Australia and now having had success in England, albeit Covid-affected, while they are virtually unbeatable at home.
“India’s best combination includes R Ashwin. He is a fine bowler under all conditions, as he proved in Australia, so India need to find a way to fit him into the XI.
“In trying to find a balance between the right- and left-hand batters in the middle order at The Oval, they may have inadvertently stumbled on the solution – Ravindra Jadeja at No. 5. The ideal player would be a fully fit Hardik Pandya, but they do have a second choice in Shardul Thakur. That is the great strength of this Indian side. They have substantial depth.
“Tweaking the Indian middle order to accommodate the skills of Ashwin should be a priority for the selectors. It’s a scary thought for the other Test sides that Virat Kohli’s highly successful team can be improved.”
Chappell also backed Rohit Sharma to take up the vice-captain’s role from Ajinkya Rahane, who didn’t find a place in his suggested XI.
“The only downside (of adding Ashwin and Pandya) would be the loss of Ajinkya Rahane’s tactical input and his slip fielding to the spinners. Nevertheless, Rohit Sharma is now an acclaimed captain and he’s capable of handling the vice-captaincy role,” Chappell said.