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23 January, 2018

Will Kohli and Team India lose at the speed of a Tracer Bullet?

Third Test: While Faf du Plessis has renewed his 3-0 whitewash vow, Shastri and Kohli have been subdued in their response

By Francis Adams

One result Team India stayed true to was not losing the ICC Test ranking as No 1 team.

This was made public before India began the tour to South Africa that irrespective of a 3-0 series loss, India will retain their No 1 position as they had amassed 4969 points for a rating of 124 compared to South Africa at No 2 with 3888 points and rating of 111. Australia are the No 3 Test side with 4174 points and rating of 104.

What's the benefit of this?

No one knows, except maybe, David Kendix who developed these rating for the International Cricket
David Kendix. Pic courtesy:
Council. And of course, some benefit to the sponsor (advertiser) MRF Tyres, who gets publicity, as well as the ICC which gets paid from the sponsor.

Cricketwise, you the eternally optimistic fan could be feeling the same way Virat Kohli is, at this moment after India's second straight Test loss at the SuperSport Park, Centurion.

Last hurrah for SA Seniors!

These feelings hold little sympathy for Faf du Plessis and South Africa.

Captain du Plessis has been making his intention clearer to the media even before the series began. "I don't know when the next Test series against India is, but it's probably the last time all of us [senior players] play against India and there's no better way than playing a series in South Africa.

We were disappointed the last time we went there and we've got a score to settle, so we're excited for this series," he had said, ahead of the first Test at Newlands,  referring to the 3-0 whitewash they suffered at India's hands in 2015.

Yesterday, he consolidated on those statements. "We don't get the opportunity often to be in a position of strength so that we can beat them 3-0, but consistency is what you want to have as much as possible. Leading into the Australian series, we want to go in with the momentum we have build-up and gathering over the last two games. By now, me or anyone feels that we should not step off the pedal off the gas. We might as well get this 3-0 done."

Shastri's patent "Set the cat amongst the pigeons" and "like a tracer bullet"

Ravi Shastri, center, with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma during practice.
Pic courtesy:
Two of Ravi Shastri's phrases, as live TV commentator, have become very popular. There have been millions of tweets, memes and jokes available on the internet about Shastri's frequent use of "Set the cat amongst the pigeons" and "like a tracer bullet".

In fact, the Board of Control for Cricket in India had launched a #TracerBulletChallenge for the current stars, among whom Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin had a go at the term. See video courtesy

Shastri has "set the cat amongst the pigeons" by saying in yesterday's press conference: "In hindsight, I would say, another 10 days of practice here would have made the difference."

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma. Pic courtesy:
How could the players have left for South Africa for practice when Kohli had invited all to his wedding reception in Mumbai at the St Regis Hotel, on December 26, 2017? Kohli and his beau, Bollywood star Anushka Sharma had planned this reception in advance and the invitation had been sent out.

Could the BCCI have said: "Forget the wedding reception, playing for the country and winning is

There are talks about how BCCI needs to plan out India's overseas tour properly, in advance and in a professional manner.

Elli Avram was a guest at Krunal Pandya's
wedding in December.
We fans can only hope that this does not remain only on paper. Or, hope that Hardik Pandya, if he becomes a permanent member of the Test team, does not announce his wedding reception with Eli
Avram, who he is rumored to be dating. Avram, whose full legal name is Elisabet Avramidou Granlund, is SweedoGreek and a TV star. She made Mumbai her home since 2012 and has appeared in a couple of Bollywood movies, including Mickey Virus as well as Bigg Boss 7.

Now that India are 2-0 down and lost the series, Shastri raking up the practice issue may come to haunt him "like a Tracer bullet".

There are other aspects, such as Shastri's bold statements before the series began compared to the ones now, after India are out of the series.

His prominent statement before the first Test was "Every ground is a home ground for us. We don't look at the opposition, we look at the pitch and play."

In contrast, he said this yesterday: "Here conditions are different. Conditions back home, we are familiar with. [At home] We shouldn't be in positions where you have to fight back {as far as I am concerned]. Our top order, if we can fire, it'll be a good Test match."

That famed top order not firing (only one 50+ -by Kohli) in four innings at Newlands and SuperSport Park has been India's bane, isn't it?

So, Shastri will at the end of this third Test in Johannesburg, realize: It's not "as simple as that", another of his patent usage these days.

As for you, the eternally optimistic Indian cricket fan, you will have to endure more from our top order batsmen, in Kohli's words: "Every time you step on to the field, it's an opportunity to correct your mistakes. And that is how you progress at the international level. I am sure everyone is looking forward to rectifying those mistakes. And if you are in the same positions, consolidating on the positions."

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