After the era of the Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni was given the captaincy of the Indian national team. He took the role of not only the skipper but a mentor to the team as he was successful in spreading his philosophies into the Indian team. He tasted immediate success in the limited over format when the Men in Blue lifted the ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007.
His test stint was not something to be proud of but as the days passed by Dhoni slowly learnt the tricks of the trade and gave India some memorable time in whites. However, last December, he announced his retirement from the longer format so he can take the team forward in the shorter formats. Virat Kohli who already tasted success as a captain in the U-19 World Cup was given the duties as the captain and the whole nation was waiting to see how he can cope with the absence of the serene figure behind the stumps.
Dhoni had his own ways of taking the team over the line and was often proactive from behind the stumps. He had the character and mindset which could adjust to the needs of the team. The biggest factor in his career was his transformation from a fearless, care not approach to a sedate, understanding of the game. He often played to the weaknesses of the oppositions and to the strength of his team that gave a lot of success for the country.
His biggest achievement was the 2011 World Cup victory in Mumbai. He fittingly finished the game off with a six that showed how confident he was even in the final of the World Cup. He was however, a lone figure in the celebrations that proceeded and showed how a leader should lead his troops. But with his career close to an end, the next big thing in Indian cricket is in the spotlight.
Kohli came into the scene in the series against Sri Lanka in 2008 where he was looking in the form of his life. He has ever since showed his class all over the world and proved that he had the character needed to lead a top class side like India. He has a completely different approach to the game and likes to be at the throat of the opponents every chance he gets.
This is the biggest transformation for the Indian side is going through. Apart from his place behind the stumps, Dhoni also left the side taking away the last bits of calm that was prevailing in this young Indian team. Kohli who is an excellent thinker is often branded too aggressive even as he took his team to his first test series victory and that too in away from home.
Kohli looked at comfort while using the players at his disposal and even with injuries plaguing the team, he took the team over the line with two big victories. It can’t be argued that Kohli might have learnt a lot from the ex-skipper, but it is refreshing to see the 26-year-old stamp his authority over the team.
Dhoni at his best could take the game away from the opponent anytime and Kohli is no less. Both players have their own approach to the game and till it is successful, neither can be blamed. Dhoni ended a very fine career with lots of appreciation, but it is time for team India to move on as its future now rides on young guns who do not care about reputations.
This transition might just have been the perfect time for Kohli to replace Dhoni as the skipper and with almost 3 years to go for the next World Cup, the news that Kohli might captain the ODI side against South Africa in the series in October can only be a blessing and will give Kohli plenty of time to forge a team that can bring back the World Cup to India.