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Virat Kohli’s captaincy in focus as RCB look to forget Summer of 2018

Virat Kohli is the world’s best batsman. In all three formats, Kohli has shown the hunger for runs and the desire to win games for his team. Nearly 11 years after his international debut, Virat Kohli has 41 ODI hundreds – only Sachin Tendulkar has more. Many years before he retires, Virat Kohli would have broken most of Tendulkar’s batting records.

In Test cricket, Kohli has 25 hundreds which makes it a total of 65 international hundreds. Who knows! He might even go past 100 international hundreds. There’s more to the man. Virat Kohli is one win away from becoming the joint most successful Indian captain in Test cricket with MS Dhoni and his record in ODIs is outstanding.

Under Virat Kohli, India have won 49 out of 68 ODIs. It is with Kohli at the helm that India won historic ODI series in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. But in all these ODI conquests, Virat Kohli has had the razor sharp MS Dhoni for constant guidance. Dhoni is an exceptional reader of the game and his presence helps the two young spinners enormously – Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal hang on to every word of advice from Dhoni.

In fact, Bishan Singh Bedi reckons Kohli is half the captain without MS Dhoni. “I am nobody to comment but we all are wondering that why Dhoni is being rested and his absence was felt yesterday, behind the stumps, with the bat and on field also. He is almost half a captain,” Bedi told PTI at a reception organised by the Australian High Commission for its cricket team.

“Dhoni is not getting any younger, he is no spring chicken either but the team needs him. He has a calming influence on the side. The captain needs him by his side, he is visibly rough without him. It is not a good sign,” Bedi said after India decided to rest Dhoni for the final two ODIs against Australia.

Without Dhoni, India lost the ODI series 2-3 after leading 2-0.

Now here comes the real problem. The Indian Premier League. Left on his own, Virat Kohli has often looked bereft of ideas and his tactical acumen has now been questioned by Gautam Gambhir, who won Kolkata Knight Riders two IPL titles.

“I don’t see him as a shrewd captain or a tactful captain as well. And he hasn’t won the IPL. So ultimately a captain is only as good as his record till the time you don’t win the IPL. There are people who have won the trophy three times… there is MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. So I think he has a long way to go,” Gambhir told Star Sports. “You cannot compare him to someone like MS Dhoni or Rohit Sharma at this stage because he has been part of RCB and captaining RCB for the last seven to eight years and he has been very lucky and should rather thank the franchise that they stuck to him because not many captains have got such a long run where they haven’t won a tournament. He should be very thankful to the franchise as they have stuck with him.”

These are strong words but Gambhir is factually right. Virat Kohli despite his brilliance with the bat has failed to deliver as a captain for RCB. He was captain when RCB last made it to the final in 2016 but it needed a superhuman effort from with the bat – 973 runs and four hundreds.

MS Dhoni will not stay around much longer. What happens to Kohli then? What happens to Team India?

Virat Kohli has led India admirably in Test cricket – he will forever cherish the Test series victory in Australia but his tactical blunders cost India dearly in South Africa and England.

This year, the RCB squad looks a lot more balanced. With Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer in the mix, they have two world class players to give that middle order far more solidity. If these two can combine their destructive powers with Kohli and AB de Villiers, who knows what RCB can achieve this year?

But this IPL will give us an insight into Virat Kohli’s leadership skills and his tactical brilliance. Has he evolved as a captain? Or does Virat Kohli still need MS Dhoni by his side to help him through tense moments in tight games?

Source: indiatoday.in

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