While South Africa defeated India by seven wickets in the second test, turning around from what appeared a hopeless situation for the Proteas, former captain Virat Kohli remains a subject of interest now as he was before the three-match series had started. After the poor show by India at Wanderers in Johannesburg yesterday, former India pacer Ashish Nehra said that the 33-year-old’s presence would not have affected the outcome of the match that much.
Nehra, however, added that India definitely missed “Virat Kohli the batsman”.
With this win, South Africa have levelled the series 1-1 after India won the first game in Centurion while a lot of chatter went on over the visitors’ supposed want of a regular skipper that Kohli was.
Kohli could not play in Johannesburg due to an upper back spasm.
“When you talk about a player like Virat Kohli, there’s always a buzz, if the result doesn’t go your way, you do miss him. I feel India definitely missed Virat Kohli the batter. He always keeps up the intensity but I won’t say the team’s intensity was down. You could hear a few voices; Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah were constantly chirping. So, I won’t say that if Kohli had played this (Johannesburg) match, India would’ve won,” Nehra said on Cricbuzz.
To substantiate his claim, Nehra recalled the Adelaide Test against Australia in 2020, where India were bowled out for 36 and Kohli had played that game as well. Nehra pointed out that Kohli had missed the next game in Melbourne, which India won, courtesy of stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane’s century.
“If you look at the Adelaide Test (vs Australia), India were bowled out for 36 and Virat Kohli was there. Rahane scored a century in the next game and India won the game and also the series but Kohli wasn’t there,” he remarked.
India have never won an away test series against South Africa, but they will certainly back themselves to win the third and final test, starting from 11 January in Cape Town.
The visitors will welcome back Kohli for the series decider at the Newlands next week.