No histrionics, please

Surprisingly, the experienced ones are getting involved in clumsy incidents, which obviously is not a good sign.

India's Amit Mishra tosses the ball during a practice session ahead of their third and final test cricket match against Sri Lanka in Colombo on August 27, 2015.   -  REUTERS

Team India proved to be a superior side in the Emerald Isle, in an emphatic manner to rewrite history, but the victorious side could have done without the histrionics in the final session. Virat Kohli stuck to his five-bowler combination which was one of the reasons for the success. The biggest beneficiary of the ploy was Amit Mishra (in pic) for whom it was a make or break situation and full credit to the leggie to have grabbed his opportunities. In retrospect, he might not have had a role to play if Team India were to play just four bowlers given that captains these days pin their faith more on the pacers.

It was good to see the spin duo play a big role to achieve success for Team India. Ashwin was in a league of his own and perhaps it is time for his detractors to concede that he is the lead spinner for India. His lack of returns on foreign soil prior to this series was a bone of contention, but an in-depth analysis of how he was used and the relative conditions will throw a different light altogether. However, the biggest change in Ashwin’s approach has been to stick to his stock delivery more and nag away to frustrate the batsmen. Like many other spinners before him, he has taken some time to figure out that excessive experimentation in Test cricket is falling prey to batsmen rather than the other way round.

Now that the off-spinner has carved a niche for himself, it will be interesting to see if the selectors consider him for additional responsibility. Kohli needs to have a deputy who is a good communicator and sees things from a bowler’s perspective as well. Of course, Ashwin is aggressive in his own way, but he can control his emotions well enough. The implication is not that Kohli is a loose cannon but the bowlers need someone to see things from their viewpoint. It is in this context that Ashwin will be a better candidate than the others. Moreover, it will be a pleasant change to see Team India having a bowler in a lead role.

The success in Sri Lanka is remarkable in that the key players were injured but the replacements did the job without much ado. Pujara’s ton on his comeback was priceless, which has really set the cat among the pigeons. The think tank will have a serious problem when it comes to picking an XI against South Africa. It will be labelled as a pleasant headache, but let me assure you, it is not by any stretch of imagination. The only cause of concern for Team India is that the top order cannot afford to fail if five bowlers play. But then, of course, the idea of playing five bowlers is to provide a buffer for shortage of runs.

Kohli has met with success straightaway on foreign soil and come next month, he will have to contend with high expectations when India plays on home soil. A four-Test series against South Africa will provide Team India enough opportunities to assert itself. In recent times, the trend has been that the home sides dominate and it remains to be seen if South Africa can buck the trend. In the meanwhile, it will do a lot of good if the players realise that there is no point in reconfirming their deeds verbally on the field. Surprisingly, the experienced ones are getting involved in clumsy incidents, which obviously is not a good sign as nothing is gained by getting banned for a match or two. It is all about temperament at the top level, isn’t it?