Sunday, January 16, 2022

Virat Kohli – The Talisman Red Ball Indian Captain

“We want to be fearless, that’s the brand of cricket we would like to play”. Virat Kohli was chalking out a new roadmap for Indian cricket in the red ball format. His captaincy style discarded the defensive approach and drove the team to not settle for anything less than a win.
Kohli started his test captaincy in 2014, after Dhoni’s sudden retirement from test cricket during the Australian tour. In 2011-12, the team had been drubbed 4-0 in tours to England and Australia. It was at that time that Kohli took on the baton. A small teaser was the 2014 Adelaide test where the Indian cricket team fought for a win, going against expectations for a draw.

Virat’s mantra to win matches abroad was to get 20 wickets irrespective of the conditions. He, along with the support staff, created a pool of fast bowlers who were relentless and fearless. And, spinners took care of most test matches at home. Kohli’s tough period started with South Africa away tour, then England tour, finally to Australia. Though the SA and England test results were not in favor, there was a paradigm shift in Indian test cricket. The approach was bold, strategic, and most importantly, invoked fear in the minds of the opposition. Kohli always questioned the conventional wisdom, played 5 batsmen, 4 fast pacers and vouched more for all-rounders. At that time, it drew irks but the result was bound to come.
With all the hard work and consistency, the moment finally arrived. India won their first series down under. Beating Australia in their own backyard is not easy. India achieved this feat with back-to-back test series win in Australia. Kohli was not there the second time, but he had instilled the brand to play for and come out victorious.

Virat resigned from test captaincy in January 2022, soon after giving up T20 and ODI captaincy. He is someone who transformed the way test cricket is played. He had zero tolerance for poor fitness. His fitness regime pushed his teammates to follow suit. He is someone who believes in your face tactics. He thrives for supremacy at the highest level with all round performance. He built his army over a period of 6 years and had both high and lows in his journey. He displayed the aggression with brashness, which was not liked by many. But it worked in his favor and importantly in the team’s favor. He brought the fire and zeal to win away matches. In a total of 68 test matches played under his captaincy, India won 40, lost 17, and drew 11, with an unprecedented win-loss ratio of 2.35. Indian test team emerged world number 1 and stayed there for more than five years.

Virat Kohli will go down in history as one of the best test captains in the world. The anguish of not winning the 2021 SA tour, referred to as Final Frontier, will remain forever. An era marked with emphatic wins in Centurion, Lords, Oval, Melbourne, Brisbane, Ahmedabad to name a few as well as hurting loss at Cape Town and Adelaide comes to an end. 

Madhurendra Kumar for DieHard Cricket Fans

No comments :

Post a Comment