Virat Kohli led India to an innings and 46-run win in the second Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.
Bangladesh were dismissed for 195, as the hosts sealed the two-match series, their record 12th-straight Test series win at home.
The Indian captain, Kohli set up the win with a century, earning accolades from experts and fans. Let us take some time to laud Kohli’s captaincy and seek to explain if that is indeed the reason for India’s journey to the summit.
Virat Kohli has now become the most successful Indian Test captain ever. Going past ex-skipper MS Dhoni’s, Kohli, with 33 Test wins, now sits on top of an illustrious list which is populated by legends such as Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sunil Gavaskar among others.
One thing is for certain. Under Kohli, Team India has gone on to win a lot more Tests overseas, than it has, under any other captain.
Credit must also go to the batsmen and not to mention, the bowling battery that has been simply outstanding, to say the least.
But, surely, without an able captain who performs on the pitch with his bat, and leads his troops with enthusiasm, all these would not have happened.
Gautam Gambhir said this about Kohli, “If you are scared of losing, you will never win and probably that’s the biggest plus he has, he isn’t scared of losing,”
“We talk about Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni, but what Virat has created, India has started winning overseas as well,” Gambhir added.
“He’s taken that risk, which a lot of other captains have not been able to take. The others always wanted an extra batter so that he they don’t lose the test match.”
“Whereas, Virat is the only captain who has gone abroad and played with five bowlers, with Hardik Pandya being an all-rounder,” Gambhir said.
The current Indian team has demonstrated an insatiable hunger and passion to keep improving. It is safe to believe that it is something they have inherited from their inspirational leader.
One factor that would have bothered some observers of Indian cricket at the time Kohli was being appointed captain was the potential knock-on effect captaincy would have on his batting; and scars from the past might have inspired cynicism.
After all, the iconic Sachin Tendulkar had infamously cited the toll of captaincy on his batting when relinquishing his duties in the late nineties.
Indeed, the Test batting averages for all three of India’s holy trinity – Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Ganguly – show a notable dip in their tenures as captain.
Tendulkar averaged 51.35 as captain, as compared to 54.16 when not captaining the side; Dravid’s mark slid to 44.51 from 53.73; Ganguly’s to 37.66 from 45.15.
Kohli, however, has been a polar opposite. Having averaged a not-so-great 41.13 in his years coming up the ranks, the 30-year-old has seen his batting numbers explode to gigantic proportions, and averages 63.80 as captain.
Even compared to present-day world standards, Kohli stands in a league of select few. And the confidence reflects in the ICC Test Championship Table too, with India standing tall with 360 points after 7 wins.
To put things in perspective, Australia are a distant second with 116, and are light years away.
Never before has an Indian team been armed with an arsenal of fast bowlers like the current crop.
Since the beginning of 2018, three Indian pacers have taken more than 50 Test wickets. No other side in the world has more than two pacers with 50-plus wickets in the same time-frame.
Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma average below 20; Mohammed Shami concedes a little over 25 runs per wicket.
A talented crop of brutish bowlers, fit and firing at the same time, is a luxury unprecedented for any Indian captain, and to be fair to Kohli, he has always admitted to the same.
But, the multi-pronged fast-bowling assembly line should not be held as an argument against Kohli, though, because Kohli’s line of credit comes in his handling and management of his surplus stock.
Hence, to conclude, Team CricWizz would like to maintain that Virat Kohli is in a league of his own when it comes to batting, and his team is in a similar vein too.
But, having said that, Kohli has led them admirably from the front and has motivated them to no end, and that is the reason as to why India see themselves in the situation they are in, right now.
Without Virat Kohli, the captain, India might simply not be what they are, and it is definitive that his captaincy is one of the biggest reasons for the team’s recent success in Test cricket.