Virat Kohli returning to the Indian squad following his paternity leave has been one of the talking points in the build-up to the home Test series against England. While Kohli left Australia after the first Test in Adelaide, Ajinkya Rahane marshalled the squad brilliantly and led the team to come back from a game down and win the series. Former England captain Kevin Pietersen feels that the dynamic between Kohli and Rahane – who will go back to being vice-captain – will make for an interesting narrative during the four-match contest against England.
“Kohli, Anderson, Ajinkya Rahane, how’s he going to go, being captain in Australia and then coming back and Kohli, how’s that dynamic going to work? It’s going to be a very interesting dynamic. I think that might be, something that is talked about a lot during this series,” Pietersen said on Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected.
Pietersen said there were many factors and players to watch out for during the clash between the two sides, but singled out the Kohli-Rahane dynamic as the one that may be the most interesting story during the series.
“You have got Jofra Archer, can he knock over Pujara? Bumrah’s back… there are so many different permutations that could happen in this Test series, but I think there’s going to be a very interesting story that’s going to run through this series – Kohli comes back as captain after Ajinkya Rahane was so good in Australia.”
Pietersen also marked India as “100 per cent favourites” to win the series, saying that England “haven’t taken their best team”.
“India’s got experience at home, they definitely do. They’ve got Kohli coming back….England has not taken their best team for the first two Test matches. I think Johnny Bairstow has to be there and I don’t think he’s going to be there. India are definitely favourites. 100% they’re the favourites, because England haven’t taken their best team or they’re certainly not starting with their best team,” Pietersen said.
Former England cricketer Dominic Cork also agreed with Pietersen that India are most likely to come out on top.
“I think India will win the series. I think England are in a better place now. England just beating Sri Lanka will help and having the likes of Stokes, Archer and Burns back in the squad will help but I still think that India are too strong and will win the series,” Cork said.
India and England will kick off the series in Chennai on February 9. The second match will also be played in Chennai, with the sides travelling to Ahmedabad for the final two games.
Topics mentioned in this article