Monty Panesar feels India missed Virat Kohli’s intensity in the first Test

England stupefied India in the first Test of the five-match series as they beat the hosts by 28 runs at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad. Being 190 runs behind in the first innings, the Ben Stokes-led side made a sensational comeback in the game with Ollie Pope leading the fightback with his innings of 196.

Courtesy of his knock, India was set a target of 231 in the fourth innings which they failed to chase down as debutant Tom Hartley picked up 7/62. Following an embarrassing loss in the series opener, captain Rohit Sharma’s leadership has come under the spotlight as several experts have criticized his tactics during the second innings.

Former England spinner Monty Panesar felt that India missed the aggression of their star batter Virat Kohli who would’ve been in the faces of England players. The 41-year-old further stated that India badly missed his intensity in the field and Rohit Sharma will have a huge task of making a comeback in the series without Kohli.

“If Virat Kohli was playing he would have been in the faces of these England players and told them ‘Hey, do it again let’s see how good you are’. This is an England team who are not scared of losing, they don’t scare if they lose. In the next four games, they (England) would still play without the fear of failure,” Panesar was quoted as saying by News18.

“Virat Kohli has that presence and intensity, which is missing currently in the India team. Virat Kohli has that aura and presence. If England win the next Test match then India will be in big trouble. This is a big moment for Rohit Sharma, he needs to show that he can turn around the match without Virat Kohli,” he added.

Further speaking ahead, Panesar warned India that if Pope and Hartley continue to play like that, England will win 5-0.

If Pope and Hartley continue to play like this it will be a whitewash: Panesar

“If Ollie Pope and Tom Hartley continue to play like this it will be a whitewash, it will be 5-0 for England. It can happen if Ollie Pope and Tom Hartley play like this,” he further said.

Meanwhile, India will have a tough task finalizing their team combination as Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul have been ruled out of the second Test due to injuries. The men’s selection committee has announced Sarfaraz Khan, Washington Sundar, and Saurabh Kumar as replacements for the second Test beginning on February 02 in Visakhapatnam.