India not overdependent on Kohli: Sangakkara

India not overdependent on Kohli: Sangakkara

Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara feels Virat Kohli's aggression is entirely focused on the game. Reuters

Former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara feels it is unfair to label India as over-dependent on Virat Kohli and attributes the team's debacle in the first two Tests against England to lack of preparation. 

England won the first two of the five Tests in Birmingham and Lord's, with a worrying point about India's batting being that Kohli was the only batsman to impress.

"It is almost unfair to the other batsmen because we have seen Virat batting like he has for the last few years. It is incredible to watch and he is an incredible performer, but others are also fantastic players," Sangakkar told PTI in an interview.

"Pujara and Rahane are absolutely great batsmen – Pujara averages 50 in Test cricket, Rahane averages 50 overseas. Then, there are others. KL Rahul looks brilliant (when in form), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik – these are no insignificant names."

India played a lone warm-up match before the Test series, and that too was overshadowed by a controversy after it was reduced to a three-day affair, and the lack of match time was not lost on Sangakkara.

"They have struggled here and one of the reasons could be lack of preparation. So they really need to think hard because you cannot prepare while you are playing the Test matches. You have to find that confidence to answer the questions asked by English bowlers in training and in practice games." 

India lost at Lord's by an innings and 159 runs, with the defeat coming within technically two days as rain played spoilsport throughout the game.

"It all went wrong at the toss itself. They were great bowling conditions on day two, and James Anderson and Chris Woakes made life tough for them. When you are all out for 107, and conditions next day are very good for batting, it is hard to pull things back even when Mohammed Shami bowled beautifully.

"It leaves a question mark on the Indian team selection. If you are playing five days then yes under the sun, it would have been different with two spinners coming into the game. But they really didn't make any impact on the game."

Sangakkara was of the opinion that Kohli's aggression is focused entirely on cricket and is good for the modern-day game.

"I have been lucky to spend a little bit of time with Virat off the field. I don't think he is intense at all. I find him absolutely wonderful to talk to – he is very open. He has other interests outside of cricket and is not just concentrating on the game all the time, which I think is great because that's why he plays so brilliantly on the field.

"When he plays cricket, he is 100 percent focused on it. He wears his heart on the sleeve, is very passionate and it is great not just for him but also his side, and cricket at large."



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