Australia vs India, 1st ODI - 3 Captaincy blunders by Virat Kohli

Australia vs India, 1st ODI – 3 Captaincy blunders by Virat Kohli

India's return to international cricket after nine months wasn’t a memorable one by any means.

Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

India made their comeback to competitive cricket after a gap of nine months. And their return wasn’t a memorable one by any means. The team, led by Virat Kohli, made a disastrous start to the three-match ODI series against Australia and conceded a crucial 1-0 lead to Aaron Finch and Co.

After electing to bat, Australia racked up 374 runs on the back of Finch and Steve Smith’s century. In the run-chase, Hardik Pandya’s 90 and Shikhar Dhawan’s 74 kept the visitors in the hunt, but their efforts went in vain. India lost the match by a huge margin of 66 runs and are now in a must-win position.

Here are the three blunders committed by Virat Kohli in the game

1. Including Navdeep Saini in the eleven despite complaints of back spams

Navdeep Saini, prior to the game, complained of back spasms. It’s a reason why T Natarajan, who got his maiden call-up in the T20I squad, was added to the ODI squad. However, for the opening match, Saini was preferred and the decision turned out to be a costly one for the Men in Blue.

Among the fast bowlers, Saini turned out to be the most expensive. In his 10 overs, Saini leaked 83 runs at an economy of 8.30. He was hit for eight fours and two sixes. He also faltered as he conceded three fours. India had the option of Natarajan and Shardul Thakur, but instead, they went for Saini.

2. Captain himself throwing his wicket away after an early reprieve

Virat Kohli was in no mood to die wondering when he came to bat after Josh Hazlewood got rid of Mayank Agarwal, who played a rash shot to get out. Virat smashed two fours and one classy six on the leg side. In between, while throwing caution to the wind, he got a reprieve in the seventh over.

Pat Cummins induced a false hook shot of Kohli’s bat. However, Adam Zampa, at fine-leg, dropped him. But the missed chance didn’t cost the Aussies much as Hazlewood nipped Virat out. Kohli ran down the pitch and pulled one straight down the throat of Finch, who was standing at mid-wicket.

3. Erratic field placements

Field placements are of prime importance in order to keep a check on the run-scoring. But the likes of Smith and Finch pierced the gaps with utmost ease and never allowed India to get a foothold back into the game. Glenn Maxwell also played with the field and made sure that he found the boundary.

India, without a doubt, could have been much smarter. There weren’t enough fielders, patrolling the boundary in the death overs. Rather, Kohli and Co kept fielders inside the circle. Hard to understand the strategy, but the tactic, definitely, didn’t work out well as India went on to lose the encounter.