Ashish Nehra did not appreciate the fact that every now and then team combination is being tinkered with.
Virat Kohli’s Indian team still has a long way to go before it is spoken of in the same breath as Australia of 2000s, feels former India pacer Ashish Nehra. Under Kohli’s leadership, India earned its maiden series victory in Australia in 2018-19, achieving the feat after trying for seven decades. However, it can’t be discounted that absence of Steve Smith and David Warner due to ball tampering ban turned out to be an important factor.
“This Indian team has to still cover a lot of distance in order to match up with that Australia team (led by Steve Waugh and then Ricky Ponting),” Nehra said during an interaction with ex-player Aakash Chopra on his show ‘Aakash Vani’.
“You are talking about an Australian team which won three consecutive World Cups and before that reached the final in 1996, won 18-19 Test matches in home and away conditions,” Nehra added.
He also did not appreciate the fact that every now and then team combination is being tinkered with.
“It’s not like this Indian team can not reach there but I believe the core group is very important. A person gets confused after watching many dishes on the table and so it’s important to have fewer but better dishes,” Nehra made his displeasure clear.
He then went on to cite how team management had handled Rishabh Pant’s career so far.
“KL Rahul is playing on the fifth position and Pant, the person you were preparing to succeed MS Dhoni, is serving drinks,” the left-arm fast bowler, known for his straight forward views, said.
Thanks to his inconsistency, Pant had lost his place in the Indian team in white-ball cricket to Rahul.
“I know he (Pant) has missed his chances and there is no doubt about it but then you have kept him in the team because you saw the potential in him at 22-23 years,” Nehra said.
“There are a lot of talented players but they should be backed for a longer duration. Today also when we talk about the number five and six slots in Indian ODI side, then we are not sure about it,” Nehra said.
Nehra, who played 17 Tests, 120 ODIs and 27 T20 Internationals, feels Kohli’s captaincy is still a work in progress.
“Virat Kohli as a player needs no recognition as his career graph tells the entire story. Kohli as a player has done amazingly well. In captaincy, I still feel he is a work in progress. I can say he is a little bit of an impulsive captain,” said the 41-year-old.