3 things that Virat Kohli should learn from Sourav Ganguly to improve India’s overseas record

#1 Identify his core group and give them security

Sourav Ganguly identified his core group of players, put his faith in them under all circumstances, gave them assurance of their places in the side and helped them flourish under his captaincy. Ganguly backed his team to such an extent, that he was ready to get sacked as a captain if his players didn’t perform.

One such instance was during India’s tour of Australia in 2003-04 where the selectors didn’t want to pick Anil Kumble. Ganguly, however, was adamant on Kumble’s selection and fought with the selectors to have him in the side, even though the selectors gave him the ultimatum that he would be sacked as captain if Kumble didn’t perform on the tour. Anil Kumble ultimately turned out to be India’s highest wicket taker on the tour and upheld the belief of his skipper.

Virat Kohli, on the other side, has not identified his core group, let alone give them security. A player finds it extremely difficult to perform when his place in the side is always under scrutiny. By dropping talented performers like Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and KL Rahul at different times during the tours of South Africa and England, Kohli has committed blunders that have led to India’s losses. Virat needs to learn from Dada and back his players to perform, instead of constantly chopping and changing the team.

#2 Play six batsmen

While it is true that 20 wickets do win you Test matches, it is also true that you won’t win Test matches if your batting team doesn’t score above 300-350 consistently. The current tours of England and South Africa have been great examples of that.

Sourav Ganguly was a firm believer in playing 6 batsmen, getting runs on the board and putting the opposition under pressure. Even with stalwarts like Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and himself in the side, he still played 6 batsmen whenever he toured overseas.This was instrumental in getting a monumental innings victory at Headingly in 2002 and chasing more than 200 runs at Adelaide in 2003.

Virat Kohli has not played 6 batsmen, even when his entire top order is struggling and out of form. He needs to stop being rigid with the 5 bowlers policy and focus more on getting runs, which is currently India’s biggest problem.

#3 Assign specific roles to different players

In Ganguly’s team, every person had a clearly defined role as to what he was supposed to do in the side. Aakash Chopra & Sanjay Bangar were too see off the shining new ball, Sehwag was there to attack, Dravid to anchor the innings whereas Ganguly, Sachin and Laxman would do the bulk of the scoring. Kumble was assigned to keep one end tight, Harbhajan to consistently bowl on the foot marks and Agarkar, Zaheer, Nehra to pick up bulk of the wickets.

In Kohli’s team, certain players are unsure of what is expected from them. He dropped Bhuvaneshwar Kumar from the second Test in South Africa after his terrific performance in the first Test. Hardik Pandya completely looks out of place in the Test side. Pujara is forced to attack and is put under pressure for his strike rate even though he is a technically sound, defensive player.

Kohli should assign a specific role to each and every player in the team so as to get a collective performance from each of them ensuring an overseas series victory.

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