Virat Kohli as a batsman has been simply outstanding. When analysts and writers are asked to describe Kohli’s batting, they often run short of superlatives. Kohli has found unparalleled success with the bat, and his appetite for runs simply remains unmatched. He has conquered every possible pitch, and the bowlers fear his presence at the crease big time.
But can we say the same things about Virat Kohli the captain? That remains a rhetorical question, which may never be answered with one hundred percent precision. There is absolutely no doubt about Virat’s ability as a batsman. He has been the spine of India’s batting since a very long time now. But does that specifically mean that Kohli will surely be a good captain? Surely not!
The true fiery test of a captain comes in the ultimate format of the game – Test cricket. Kohli till now has led India in 17 ODI’s. But all the 17 ODI’s have come in comparatively safe waters. His ODI captaincy stint includes the five match series in Zimbabwe, and the five match series in India against Sri Lanka. Along with that, he led India in 3 games in the West Indies, and in four games in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. But with his style of play, Kohli’s ability to derive success in tests seems really very bleak. In this article, we have a look at the five reasons, which make us feel that Virat Kohli is not captaincy material.
1. Strange, logic defying decisions:
Kohli has led India in two tests. Both the tests were in Australia, one in Adelaide and the other in Sydney. It is utterly fair to mention that Kohli took some completely logic defying decisions. His first decision was to give Karn Sharma a game at the Adelaide Oval, ahead of the experience of R. Ashwin. Adelaide assists the maximum amount of spin in Australia. With spin and bounce available at the wicket, going in with Ashwin was a no-brainer. But Kohli chose otherwise. Karn Sharma looked entirely out of sorts and was clobbered. On the other hand, Nathan Lyon, the Australian off spinner got 12 wickets in the game, and won the game for Australia single handedly. How handy R. Ashwin would have been on that rank turner?
Another strange decision taken by Kohli was to axe Cheteshwar Pujara in the fourth test in Australia. Pujara is said to be India’s most solid batsman technically along with M. Vijay. Dropping Pujara sent a very negative message. In that series Pujara was extremely unlucky, as the umpires gave blunders against him. Dropping him would have demotivated him big time. With the flat Sydney wicket in question, Pujara would have loved to thrive there and make it a big one. But Kohli didn’t feel so.
2. Captaincy greatly reliant on personal batting form:
In England, against the likes of Anderson and Broad, in white clothing Kohli had a horrid time. In ten innings, the dashing batsman could manage only 134 runs. In half the number of innings, James Anderson, the England no.11 had more runs than him. On that tour, Kohli looked completely bamboozled. His ever active and energetic body language was nowhere. Rather, a pale and dull face was seen by his fans. It was as if, Kohli was waiting for a disaster to occur. If Kohli is the skipper, and personally again has to go through a horrible run, then a calamity awaits India! Rather than motivating the side, Kohli himself would be so down that the other members too would feel uneasy. Thus having him as the leader would mean a constant looming of threat over the Indian test side.
3. Over aggression costs him:
Aggression is said to be a must have for batsmen and captains. But over aggression is surely an unwanted quality. Unfortunately, that is one quality which Kohli possesses! The Delhi dasher has time and again said that aggression gets his juices flowing. But in the Adelaide test, the Indian test skipper was completely over aggressive after a certain point of time. Chasing 364 on the last day was always a difficult option. But Kohli went for it, and it was a positive move. But once Rohit Sharma was out, he should have played out the overs for a draw. Rather, he asked Wriddhiman Saha to play aggressively. In the due course, Saha played a mind numbing shot and got castled. Yet Kohli wasn’t pleased. Then he himself played a rash shot, and pulled a Nathan Lyon delivery giving Mitchell Marsh the catch. After twenty minutes, the Aussies emerged victorious! If this is what aggression is for Kohli, then a dreary test future awaits team India.
4. Too mercurial:
The right handed superstar is way too mercurial for an ideal test captain. Being aggressive and mercurial are completely different aspects. By mercurial, it is meant that Kohli has the habit of getting into absolutely needless confrontations. That was clearly evident during India’s recent Down Under Tour. In the MCG test, Mitchell threw the ball back at Kohli which hit him. Johnson wasted no time, and apologized there and then. In return, Kohli began his needless verbal battle with Johnson. Gradually in the next ten balls, Kohli offered three easy chances in the field. Two of them were sitters which were put down. On another day, that would have meant the end of Kohli. Having such a hot potato temperament is the perfect recipe for a disaster.
5. Might not be able to gain the respect of his teammates:
The most significant part for a captain is to gain the respect of his team mates. MS Dhoni was absolutely successful in gaining the respect of his team mates. Even though he was losing overseas, he still had the respect of his bowlers and teammates. They listened to him and took his advice. The reason was simple- he himself respected his players and backed them. But Kohli has not shown even a single sign of such a quality. In the tests, Kohli often gave the bowlers a rough look after they were hammered. This rough look was surely not well digested by his teammates. Bowlers, when they are down need the backing and motivation of a skipper. But Kohli rather gets annoyed on them, which greatly puts the bowlers off. This will lead to more failures from the bowlers.
It is once again said that there is no doubt over Kohli’s attributes as a batsman. But his ability as a skipper is greatly questioned by the five factors.