Ind vs Eng: India should have won three Tests in the series, says Michael Holding
West Indies pace legend Michael Holding, tells mid-day that the end scoreline is misleading and backs India to do better in Australia
Michael Holding should know a thing or two about big scorelines, considering he was part of a West Indies team that dished out a hiding to many teams. He can relate to highly competitive series, having been part of several contests where the opposition offered a measure of fight before ultimately succumbing to West Indies's superiority.
Michael Holding, 64, who was part of the Sky Sports commentary team for the recently concluded Pataudi Trophy series between England and India, agreed with India skipper Virat Kohli, who said at the Oval on Tuesday that the 4-1 scoreline did not reflect the kind of competitiveness displayed by both teams. What Kohli was probably trying to stress was that India were not a 1-4 side.
"It might not show in the scoreline, but both sides know it's been a competitive series, it's taken a lot out of both sides and it's something we've really enjoyed. We've taken up the challenge head on and today was an example of two guys [centurions KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant] not giving up and actually entertaining the crowd," Kohli told former England captain Mike Atherton at the post-series presentation in London.
India players celebrate the wicket of Jos Buttler during the fourth Test against England in Southampton last month. Indian fans expected their team to square the series here, but the hosts prevailed. Pic/Getty Images
'Kohli is right'
"I agree that the final result of 4-1 doesn't truly reflect how competitive the series was. India could have and probably should have, won the first [Edgbaston] and fourth [Southampton] Tests along with the third that they did win [at Nottingham]," Holding told mid-day from the UK yesterday. The Indian batsmen save skipper Kohli and Southampton centurion Cheteshwar Pujara to a lesser extent, did not emerge smelling of roses in the series and the best opening stand of the series was 60 in both innings of the third Test at Nottingham where India triumphed by 203 runs.
Ajinkya Rahane scored 81 in the first innings of that game and his next 50-plus score was witnessed in the following Test at Southampton. Sure, opener Rahul and wicketkeeper-batsman Pant worked their way to centuries on the final day of the tour, but by then, the series was well and truly lost. "Apart from Kohli, I doubt any of the batsmen could say that they had a good series," emphasised Holding.
The Jamaican attracted attention earlier in the series when he reckoned that all-rounder Hardik Pandya was not equipped to perform dual roles for India. At the same, he did not rule out the possibility of Pandya, 24, coming good as an all-rounder since he had age on his side. India's next big overseas challenge comes in the form of the Australia tour at the end of the year and Holding reckons India can expect to fare much better than they did in England.
Good days ahead
"I think the Indian pacers were the big plus for India in this series. India will do a lot better in Australia. Conditions there will suit them — not as much swing for the batsmen to negotiate and although the Kookaburra ball is not the best for fast bowlers — the wickets should help the pacers who I don't think need a lot of help anyway," he reckoned.
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