Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has hailed England’s 227-run victory over Team India in the first Test as a “fantastic achievement. However, Kevin Pietersen has warned that things could have been very different had Virat Kohli’s men won the toss.
England’s win was set-up by a sparkling double ton from captain Joe Root in the first innings. Root’s knock of 218 helped his country to an imposing total of 578, leaving India facing an uphill struggle to save the Test match before they had even bat once.
Joe Root has moved up two places to No.3 in the latest ICC Test rankings for batsmen.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) February 10, 2021
Speaking in his role as an Ambassador for Betway, Kevin Pietersen revealed that he felt that wicket for the first Test in Chennai was very much a “win the toss, win the Test match” type of pitch. Kevin Pietersen added that not too much stock should be placed in the dominant nature of England’s victory.
“It’s fantastic that England won the first Test match – they put in a really solid performance and it sets up the series beautifully. But it was a ‘win the toss, win the Test match’ sort of wicket, so batting well on days one and two and giving India absolutely no chance of winning the game is not historic by any stretch of the imagination.”
Kevin Pietersen also cast doubt on whether England would have performed any better than Team India had they been the side to bat second.
“If India had batted first, I think they could have put something similar on the board. Would England have been able to bat second and chase the game? I’m not so sure. I’m interested to see whether a similar wicket is prepared for the second Test, because it would be really sad if it’s the same scenario – win the toss and win the match. I don’t want to take anything away from England, it’s a great victory. But I think the talk of it being one of the great wins in their history is a bit much considering that it was given an awful lot of help by the flip of a coin.”
The toss, of course, is always a key aspect of any Test match. However, given the performance that England were able to produce off the back of winning the coin toss last Friday, it will be even more highly anticipated when the second Test match gets underway on Saturday morning.
Virat Kohli has now lost four successive Tests for the third time in his career. This is the first time it’s happened while he’s been captain. #IndvEng
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) February 9, 2021
Elsewhere in his blog, Kevin Pietersen discussed the pressure that has mounted on Virat Kohli, who is now on a personal run of four Test match defeats in a row as captain. Kevin Pietersen does not believe a change will be made, but admitted that he understood the reasons behind such speculation.
“I absolutely don’t expect things to change, but it is impossible to avoid the continuing debate around the Indian Test match captaincy. Virat Kohli has now lost four consecutive Test matches as skipper, and has Ajinkya Rahane, who just led India to a famous series win in Australia, in his side. On social media, every radio station, every television channel and every news channel, there are very deep discussions around what should happen.”
Kevin Pietersen, who spent three Tests as England captain during his own international career, stated that losing runs are part of Test match cricket. He is confident that Kohli can help Team India turn the series around against England.
“Captaining your country is very difficult and unfortunately this is the nature of the beast. It’s one more distraction that Kohli doesn’t need but he is, of course, capable of leading his side to a victory in the second Test to quieten things down a bit.”
Fans do not have long to wait to see if Kohli can back up the words of Kevin Pietersen. There is a little over 24 hours to go until the action begins in Chennai once again, with England’s shock victory in the first Test match serving only to add to the sense of excitement surrounding the next encounter between the two sides.