Before Sourav Ganguly became the captain of India, Indian captains were judged on the basis of the number of tests they have avoided defeat in. Ganguly though, along with a group of youngsters just changed the dimension of Indian cricket and challenged each and every team in the world. Since then India have been blessed with some excellent captains and also rose to the pinnacle of the ICC test rankings. Now that all the legends have retired, the onus lies on the golden boy Virat Kohli to continue the legacy.
Virat Kohli became the captain of India when India toured Australia and Dhoni retired abruptly during the series. He lost his first test as captain in Adelaide and drew the second in Sydney. Of the 23 tests Virat has captained India in, he has won 15, drawn 6 and lost only 2 matches, the same as MS Dhoni in his first 20 odd test matches. He is already the third most successful test captain for India with 15 test wins breaking the record of Mohammed Azharuddin. The win at Hyderabad against Bangladesh takes Kohli’s unbeaten streak to 19 which is the longest unbeaten streak for an Indian captain. Sunil Gavaskar’s 18 and Kapil Dev’s 17 are next on the list. Also, he hasn’t lost a test series yet.
The reason for Virat Kohli’s success is his aggressive nature. He was always seen displaying his emotions on the cricket field before he became captain and now has successfully integrated that nature of his into his captaincy. He stresses on the 6 batsman 5 bowlers policy which is a welcome change in Indian cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have blossomed under Kohli’s captaincy, both as batsmen and bowlers, especially Ashwin who sits on the top of the all-rounder test rankings. Virat Kohli himself seems to be enjoying the burden of captaincy as a batsman. In 23 test matches as captain, he has scored 2461 runs at an average of 65.71, which includes 9 hundreds and 5 fifties with his highest score being 235 against England.
The inspired bowling changes, the clear mind in terms of the playing eleven, the calmness with which he bats, and most importantly, two fast bowlers getting him wickets at crucial times have helped Kohli be successful. Kohli sometimes though has been guilty of playing the waiting game, which for now has worked in his favour but it can easily go the other way. The real test of his captaincy though, will be when India tours abroad, but the way things have panned out so far, there is no reason for things to go wrong. Until then, let us also play “the waiting game“.