“Captain Kohli was the leader of men and a captain who gave Test cricket moments which is a part of cricket’s folklore – walk down the memory lane, you would be staggered t know how he made the team believe that impossible is nothing if the options are exploited in the right way – he was different than the others – different in approach, different in plan executions”
Captained in 68 Test matches.
Won 40 Test matches.
Scored 5884 as a captain at an average of 54.80 with 20 hundreds.
While captaining India, he scored 20.6% of team runs in Australia and 18.1% in England (minimum 500-plus runs).
The above are the numbers of Virat Kohli as the captain – but in cricket or any sports, a legendary captain is not just about numbers – he is more than that.
A legend creates a legacy and that legacy leaves a long-lasting effect in the minds of everyone – even the arch-rivals stand up and clap for the Leader of Men which was Kohli during his seven years as the skipper of India.
When he was entrusted with the task to lead India in a Test match in Adelaide back in 2014, from that moment, he became that symbol of hope and courage to turn the tables around and essay one of the most epic victories in the history of Indian cricket. It became the run chase of a chase artist who was fighting against all odds and giving the impression – if you push your limits, you can even walk on water.
In the end, Australia survived the Kohli-scare and from that point of time, it became clearer that no matter how tough the going might be – Kohli would chase for the impossible dream. Playing cricket in the most boring way was never in his nature and obviously, leading the team would be from the school of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and Sourav Ganguly.
Pragmatism was laid to rest and fresh ideas chipped in – ideas that changed the face of Indian cricket.
Those people – other than the Indians – who grew up watching Indian cricket from the 60s and 70s, talked more about the famous Indian spinners – even more than the famous Kapil Dev because the Indian bowling attack had always been about brilliant off and leg-spinners.
Even when Kohli started his journey as the full-time captain in 2015 – still, Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were the potent bowlers other than the pacers – but to become the best in the world, it was very important for India to develop a pace unit that would help to win matches not only at home but outside India as well.
Kohli, along with head coach Ravi Shastri – started to emphasize Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and the heavily-criticized Isant Sharma – later on Mohamed Siraj joined the party.
Kohli used his pace options the best way he could and from a spin-oriented team, Team India transformed into a unit that put chills down the spine of the batters with deceptive pace.
His aggressive intent was passed among the fast men and the speed merchants realized what their leader wanted – pace, swing and bounce. The perfume balls were a common sight, beautiful movement on and off the pitch, bouncing from the short and back of a length and late swing at pace took the world by storm.
It was Kohli’s fast-men who went for the kill from the word go because they had the back of a leader who loved to play cricket in an aggressive fashion and a fast bowler starts to deliver the best when the captain is an attacking one.
You might say, the Indian system developed options for Kohli, but not every captain can use the options in the best possible way – Kohli did it and that is where Kohli’s Indian team was able to create an aura and reach the top which others could not.
Captain Kohli was the leader of men and a captain who gave Test cricket moments which is a part of cricket’s folklore – walk down the memory lane, you would be staggered t know how he made the team believe that impossible is nothing if the options are exploited in the right way – he was different than the others – different in approach, different in plan executions.
Let’s see how the next skipper carries on the legacy of Kohli.
It would be tough, very tough!