Virat Kohli- The Captain

Do you support Virat Kohli's Captaincy?

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NILAYSHAH60

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India are winning too much under these guys.
What have they won? They have a side which can literally win tournaments but here they are making tactical mistakes and giving up in knockouts. This side knew to win tournaments under the previous Captain with their best team. The current team is performing like the team in pre-2000 era. Make it through the tournament and give up in knockouts.
 

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I've been following this thread since I was tagged but personal life circumstances have meant that I couldn't make a post till now. Even now, I doubt I can offer as much of my thoughts as possible.

To me, a captain is best judged by how they make the team work greater than the sum of their parts. Hand such an individual a group of hundred men and they'll make it look like a thousand. There are exceptions like Punter who were considered good because they made a team that was already heavy and on the verge of instability work by making it equal to the sum of their parts but that is exclusively for sides that are all-time great ones.

Now, Virat Kohli to me has almost never done this. The only times he's come close to this is on the back of his own legendary performances and not due to the team performing above their standards. The best RCB side (possibly the best IPL batting side ever) made it to the final and lost to SRH who were not favourites. The worst RCB sides have always been dross under him. Even the good RCB sides have always underperformed with him at the helm.

Contrast that with MS Dhoni. India arrived into the 2015 World Cup on the back of some horrendous form with a group of pacers that wouldn't have made IPL sides quake in fear. Shami was the sole star. And yet, he made that side work till the semis as they remained unbeaten and lost only to the eventual winners who IMO are one of the strongest champions I've seen. Aaron Finch took over an Aussie side with two of it's star batsmen suspended, a team culture in disarray and low on confidence playing ancient ODI style cricket having not won a series in nearly two years. He then made them win two consecutive away series', one of which was against India and got his side to the semis having looked imperiously good during the group stages.

But I don't think anyone would argue that Kohli is a poor white ball captain. The reasons are simple too. You only need to watch a game of his to understand. The Indian setup has always had a solid 'Plan A' that works in most cases due to the team's strength and the solid nature of it. And to his credit, Kohli ensures that it goes by without a hitch. He is a good motivator, especially when things are going well.

However, it is when these plans start to go awry that Kohli's 'tinkerer side' comes online. He makes the wrong calls at the wrong times. Quite simply put, you have blokes like Morgan who frequently make the right decisions under stress just at the right times. People call it gut, but Jarrod Kimber illustrated perfectly in an article that this super-gut is a myth. It is just the experience, tactical acumen and nous that enables these individuals to consistently make the right decisions. Even when they turn out wrong, you can see the reasoning behind it and surmise why it did happen. Case in point was Adil Rashid being the powerplay bowler every time in the recent T20I series. It stopped working eventually but Morgan's reason was that if you could remove Rohit and Kohli who are susceptible to wrist spin, you've already done half the work needed to win the game with the ball. Contrast that with Kohli's reluctance to use Sundar in powerplays despite him being actually decent versus right-handed batsmen and preferring Chahal who only gets smashed nearly every time.

This weakness of Kohli is particularly evident in his white ball career as you need to take decisions on the fly in ODIs and T20s. You'll frequently have to adapt, take many micro-decisions without knowing immediately how likely they are to be successful. Now this doesn't come into focus in tests. You don't need to change plans as frequently in the longer format. Hence why Kohli has never been as bad in tests as in white ball games. Yet, he's got one crucial weakness that still haunts him here. And that is yet again his tinkerer mode.

I think India once went 37-40 games without naming the same test side. I don't remember the exact number but it was ridiculous. Imagine the instability in the side, knowing that if you fail to perform once this might be your last game. Heck, you might get dropped even if you did perform well. And this wasn't fiction. Bhuvi was the highest wicket-taker in the first test versus South Africa on our last away tour there, the third highest run-scorer for India. His reward? Dropped for the next game. The vice-captain Rahane did not play until the third game and the reasoning was that "nobody thought he should have played ahead of Rohit Sharma". The same Rohit who barely looked like a competent batsman in every SENA tour. Dhawan played ahead of KL Rahul for some reason.

And then of course, we had Pujara dropped with Rahul playing out of position at three because the former made a string of poor scores in county cricket and gave an interview to Cricinfo. Edgbaston would have been ours on the back of Kohli's 149 had he not been dropped. The funniest moment was Kohli turning up on Day 2 with overhead clouds at Lord's and proudly announcing that the spinner Yadav would play with Ashwin. England did not bowl a single over of spin in that game. And to cap it off, Lyon won the Man of the Match at Perth versus Australia where India did not play any spinner and opted for the pacer Yadav who gloriously gave away freebies down the leg-side. And there was the whole "let's play Shaw who looks mentally shot and Saha in a day night test at Adelaide" on the last tour there.

If it isn't clear already, Kohli's decisions about the playing XI and team selections have often been poor and sometimes ridiculous. Now, there have been few instances where it has worked. Hardik Pandya won us a test in England despite being a huge question mark throughout the series. Bringing in Pant and dropping DK at that point was seen as risky but it worked out in the series and going forward in the future too (although he was very nearly ousted by the same captain later on). Bumrah was seen as a massive risk for the SA tour as his last FC game was over a year ago and his action was considered to be unsustainable for five days but we might have unearthed potentially our greatest test pacer in him thanks to that. Vihari as a stop-gap opener instead of the out of touch Rahul was also a bold call that helped. Most recently, Axar Patel's success despite him not having featured much in FC cricket was also impressive. But yet again, there are caveats in several of these instances, such as Hardik being generally not useful in other tests in England (barring Edgbaston where he was the only other batsman with a spine) while England's Curran was vital in every game, Pant and DK's mismanagement alongside Rahul playing one too many games before being considered for the axe. I'm not even mentioning instances like Siraj being ignored for years despite being one of the best prospects in the domestic circuit for a weak side.

To add to his positives, Kohli's backed pacers a lot. This means a lot in Indian cricket context. This is the same country that ran Kapil Dev and Srinath to the ground, the same country whose legendary captain Pataudi shunned pacers to an extent rivaling that of current day Bangladesh with Tiny being the only Indian pacer of note in the 60s. His predecessor had a poor history with pace bowlers himself. To go from there to the seemingly endless supply of pacers we have today is a big deal. I don't believe Kohli himself is personally responsible for the successes of Ishant (Indian cricket owes a big debt to Gillespie for him), Shami or even Siraj who had been working effortlessly with Hyderabad but their best work has been possible in this current setup.

The current side's obsession with fitness is also a great improvement IMO. Our pacers last longer these days, they bowl at full pace for far more longer intervals and our players look fit as a fiddle for the most part now. When the current crop of senior players retire, you'll see an even bigger improvement here. Kohli's been highly responsible for this and has led personally from the front. I wish our fielding wasn't hopelessly bad but you can't have it all I guess.

And one other underrated aspect that I like about Kohli's captaincy is that he doesn't give up in several instances when previous captains would have preferred to play for the draw. Every session is marked as one to win or compete and I find that approach refreshing and in line with modern day tests. This aggression and intent however only carries over to the side's propensity to play every ball and risk dismissals rather than defend and ride out the storm sometimes (with the due exception of Pujara who is shunned for his approach in any case). Kohli is a defensive captain with his fields, bowling changes and often changes plans too frequently rather than stick with one and trust in it to deliver. And when he does do the latter, it is in scenarios where success is unlikely. His white ball mode turns up here too inevitably. Contrast that with Rahane who showed a wonderful model of captaincy in Kohli's absence and salvaged what looked like a lost tour and turned it into India's greatest overseas triumph. Kohli in a nutshell makes wrong decisions in moments of impatience, is stubborn over things that he should not be and is abrasive towards people who question him publicly. All three of these are very much unsuited to captaincy.

And finally, captaincy is not something that exists in a vacuum too. You need better options or worse ones to compare a captain or grade them on a standard. For instance, hand Kohli over to Bangladesh and they'll probably grab him up in an instance even if you just offer them the captain version of him (I'd argue that for their team culture, Kohli is the worst fit in terms of personality but that is an argument for another day). And here, India have a much superior option in Rohit Sharma for white ball cricket. His detractors and Kohli's most fervent supporters often bring up isolated instances to point out how Rohit escapes criticism for certain errors and how he is praised for some decisions that the former isn't. Part of it is because the spotlight will always shine brighter on the present captain and a part of it is because Rohit is objectively a better captain on paper and has shown on multiple occasions that he deserved the captaincy spot.

In red ball cricket is where things get murky. Rahane is also a superior option to Kohli but the former's form has been on a nosedive over the last 3-4 years. Partly down to mismanagement and partly down to his own failures and stubborn nature of wanting a LO cricket, it is tough to justify Rahane being captain when his own spot is frequently in question. And this is why Kohli has often escaped criticism in tests despite having won only once in a SENA tour with India's strongest test side ever.

Shastri's role amidst all of this is another issue. He is a motivator first and foremost, he can point out technical flaws and chinks in the armour for players but expecting him to coach and manage the tactical side of the game on a daily basis is unrealistic. Such a coach works well with both of India's deputies as they are tactically strong first and pair up well with a motivator. Kohli on the other hand is a motivator himself who struggles tactically often and as such would be much better with a tactically strong coach. You can see the change in RCB's fortunes in the last two seasons since Hesson and Katich have come over. There is a clear structure and order now despite Kohli's frequent random decisions but with the support of a proper structure, they do not look as terrible as they previously did. Maybe with the support of a good coach rather than a cheerleader, Koach could have done better and have a more positive reputation of his captaincy.

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Something tells me that someone like Kohli would be an amazing vice captain while Shastri an excellent director of cricket. Shastri can be kept away from the pressers, he can do his bombastic talk on and before tours.

I had said that my choice would be Moody for coach when the applications first rolled out. Kumble being a part of the applicants with the people that were meant to pick the coach was an utter and complete joke.

For the future, whoever it is that takes on the job after Kohli (whether it's a young turk or a captain in transit) I would get Zak as coach/manager (whatever you call it). I think he is just cut out for the big spotlight job. He's a man manager of epic levels, can add a lot to the bowlers and just stays away from the nonsense. He also has an extremely approachable attitude which goes a long long way.

The BCCI desperately just needs to ensure that the man who is the head of the NCA and U-19 is kept happy. They'd be very wise to have someone like a DK or someone work under him once DK hangs up to take over the role RSD is doing once he's fed up.
 

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Keep him as a team motivator. He would work the best that way. However, just need keep motivation of few things away. :p

I actually think some very great camaraderie is built around big nights i.e alcohol. It becomes an agenda when you try to BS the public. There is an amazing resemblance in India's leaders these days where they have a completely intolerant attitude towards a different outlook or opinion. There is also this desperate attempt to try and seem immortal in the public domain.

For example, the whole world knew Pant was included just after the 34 all out debacle because of the pressure that came with being embarrassed. Their choice had been made in Saha. To then, ridicule outside opinion after it was proven right is just laughable and creates angst in the public and specially knowledgable viewers. There is no harm in just going out and saying 'we messed up.' Not just our cricket team, but our government will also realise that this creates support in your people. Denial actually is very dangerous.
 

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I actually think some very great camaraderie is built around big nights i.e alcohol. It becomes an agenda when you try to BS the public. There is an amazing resemblance in India's leaders these days where they have a completely intolerant attitude towards a different outlook or opinion. There is also this desperate attempt to try and seem immortal in the public domain.

For example, the whole world knew Pant was included just after the 34 all out debacle because of the pressure that came with being embarrassed. Their choice had been made in Saha. To then, ridicule outside opinion after it was proven right is just laughable and creates angst in the public and specially knowledgable viewers. There is no harm in just going out and saying 'we messed up.' Not just our cricket team, but our government will also realise that this creates support in your people. Denial actually is very dangerous.
True, denial is dangerous in long term. The fact is that we the people of the subcontinent tend to be very emotional and we always look up to the ones who lead us as someone immortal. This is why we always fail to understand the need of the hour and rather focus on what our leaders are saying, no matter how illogical it might sound. These guys are in power till the time they get public backing.
 

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Chapter 23: Freedom Series in South Africa


The Freedom Series was set to begin in 5th January 2018. India were to play 3 Tests, 6 ODIs & 3 T20Is in the rainbow nation. This was the first opportunity for Kohli and his men to prove their dominance in world Cricket in Overseas conditions. This was probably the best opportunity for India to win in South Africa considering the form they had achieved in their home series. This was one of the most confident India team touring South Africa. Also the South African bowling line-up was a little inexperienced but they had the no.1 bowler in World Cricket- Kagiso Rabada who looked in a good form against Bangladesh just few months ago while Morkel took a 5-fer in the 2nd innings of the 4-Day Test(The first in the history of Cricket). There were a lot of challenges for India to face from the bowling line-up to the conditions. Also South Africa were up for a revenge against India for their loss in India in 2015. South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson had requested the curators to go for a doctored seamer friendly pitch for the series. Even the Proteas Captain made his intentions clear well before the series.
Faf du Plessis said:
I don’t know when the next Test series against India is, but it’s probably the last time all of us play against India and there’s no better way than playing a series in South Africa. We were disappointed the last time we went there, and we’ve got a score to settle.​

But Kohli had other ideas. Infact he and the Indian team management requested for the cancellation of the warm up match. Kohli gave an explanation to it as
Virat Kohli said:
We understand that. There's no point wasting two days, guys going in, scoring quick fifties and coming out. We'd rather have them do two sessions like today, get into Test match zone, test ourselves, try and prepare the wickets the way we want to.​

That seemed a really strange decision to not play a warm up and the explanation seemed even more stranger. The warm ups usually help a touring team to get used to the conditions and it is never about getting a score or a result but to get used to the weather, the conditions and more importantly the pitch. Being an Asian side it was even more important to have a warm up but here we had something different coming from a Captain of the most followed team in the world.

The first Test was to be played at the Newlands in Cape Town. The last time India played a Test at this venue it ended in a draw which resulted in India drawing their first ever Test series in South Africa. So in a way this was a lucky venue for India.

India made another couple of strange decisions by handing a debut to Bumrah who hardly looked competitive enough for Tests and the second dropping their vice Captain Ajinkya Rahane for the first Test. Rahane who had been the most reliable batsman for India in Overseas during 2014-15. Although Rahane was given confidence before the tour that he would be backed but the reason for dropping him was Rohit's incredible form in white-ball Cricket. This again was a questionable explanation because a Test match has different requirements and conditions which are different from limited overs and Rohit had never established himself in Test Cricket. So to hand him a place in the side ahead of India's vice-Captain didn't make sense either.

South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first on what looked a fresh pitch. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled the first over. He started off with a couple of deliveries down the leg-side to the left handed Elgar but the third delivery he found a perfect line for his bowling and had Elgar caught behind. In his next over he had Aiden Markram lbw. Markram tried to defend a sharp inswinger but he was completely outfoxed by Bhuvi's brilliance. If this wasn't, Bhuvi got Hashim Amla caught behind of an outswinger. South Africa were 12/3!!!!! What had to be a decent start after winning the toss and getting to bat first was soon turning into a disaster for the Proteas!!!! Kohli was all fired up to his bowler's brilliance. In walked AB de Villiers as he joined hands with the Proteas skipper du Plessis. Faf du Plessis held up one end while de Villiers tried to score on almost every delivery he faced. Soon enough South Africa started to score at almost 5 runs an over!!! Kohli straight away put out a defensive field very early in the innings. After a 114-run partnership, de Villiers got out bowled to an in-swinger from Bumrah on 65(84). Couple of overs later, Hardik got du Plessis on 62(106). India though kept a defensive field all throughout the innings as soon as the lower order came out for batting, Kohli took his best bowlers off the attack and only brought them back when the batsmen looked settled. This resulted in the last 5 batsman adding 144 runs. South Africa seemed like getting bowled out just a little after Tea on some 220-odd but the lower order contribution meant that South Africa piled on 286 giving India a little over 30 minutes to bat. India started off patiently and were doing well in keeping away the new ball but suddenly Vijay brought out a false stroke and was caught at gully. Dhawan went for a lofted pull and was caught by Steyn himself off his own bowling. Kohli poked at a back of the length delivery from Morne Morkel and was dismissed for 5(13). India finished Day 1 in a spot of bother at 28/3!!!

India began Day 2 very cautiously and they went through the first hour without losing a wicket. Pujara is usually known for going through such phases without much difficulties but it was really commendable of Rohit to do that. It felt as if the decision to play Rohit was proving right. But just after spending an hour Rohit found his usual way of throwing away his wicket. This lead to a collapse as India were soon reduced to 92/7!!!!!! It was nearly impossible to score off Philander, Steyn, Morkel & Rabada for the Indians. The remaining pressure was induced by an economical spell from left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj. They were clueless against the pace attack of South Africa. India found some relief when Dale Steyn had to leave the field due to some injury. Bhuvneshwar Kumar joined hands with Hardik Pandya to help India recover. Hardik Pandya suddenly started counter attacking the Proteas bowlers as India found some momentum going their way. They put on 99 for the 8th wicket as Hardik played one of the best innings of his career scoring 93 off 95, unfortunately missing out on his 2nd Test hundred. Bhuvneshwar Kumar also fought well for his 25. India were bowled out for 209 giving a 77-run lead to South Africa. It was still a decent comeback from being 92/7 at one stage. It meant that India were still in with a chance. South Africa ended Day 2 at 65/2 leading India by 142 runs. It was clear that India needed wickets to compete in this match while South Africa had to avoid a collapse.

Day 3 was a complete wash out. This meant the pitch had caught up moisture which would help the seamers even more now. The pressure was on India to handle the pacers. Although the Indians went a way too far at the end of Day 2 as Pujara said:
Cheteshwar Pujara said:
To be honest, we don't want to chase too many runs but at the same time, the way the wicket is behaving, I think, anywhere around 350 will be chaseable. In the first innings, the top order obviously didn't click but in the second innings I think we will put up a better show and if we continue to bat well, we can definitely get more than 350.​

But Rabada had different views​
Kagiso Rabada said:
I think it's a wicket where you really have to graft. You can't just come in and just play shots everywhere. It's almost like there's a ball that will have your name on it. I think you need a little bit of luck. As you've seen, Hardik Pandya got dropped, but he did play well. So I think it's a wicket where you need a little bit of luck. You need to really grind.​

It was clear that the Indians had not read the pitch well. And they would suffer at some point because of it. The rains made the matters worser. India began Day 4 with a strategy to get South Africa out as early as possible. And this was again bearing fruit as South Africa were reduced to 95/7. The Proteas camp was in a disbelief of what was happening. It was de Villiers again who stepped up and he calmly played his natural game as he made 35(50) taking South Africa to 130 all out. India would be on top of the world now thinking that they only had to chase 208. South Africa knew they had to get wickets to put pressure on the Indians. Their confidence was sky high after they way they bowled in the first innings. India put on 30 for the first wicket. But were soon 39/3. Kohli & Rohit put on 32 for the 4th wicket before Kohli got out lbw trying to flick a straight ball at the on-side and missing it completely. Philander followed that with an incredible spell as India were bowled out for 135 eventually losing the match by 72 runs. It was clear that India were completely unaware about the conditions and their batsmen clearly lacked a gameplan. What was more disappointing for India that they only had to face 3 seamers on that track and yet the failed to gain control. This was clearly a tactical miss!!!! Kohli was criticised heavily for dropping Ajinkya Rahane. But Kohli responded;
Virat Kohli said:
No one expected Rahane to be in the playing XI​

Not a very logical explanation for dropping India's vice-Captain!!!!

From Cape Town, India moved to Centurion. Centurion was expected to have a similar track. But on the match day there was a flat subcontinental pitch. Faf du Plessis was clearly disappointed to this and he expressed his displeasure.
Faf du Plessis said:
It did not look like the Centurion pitch I know and that is a concern, to be honest. I can think of three or four occasions where over the last 12 months and we needed to be better as a collective. We never wanted it to be ridiculous‚ we just wanted a pitch with pace and bounce. I think there is a concern that we are not getting it right. I was very concerned when I got here leading up to the Test match. I am very honest about good things when it is right and this was an opportunity that we missed​

India made yet another surprising change for the 2nd Test. They dropped their best pacer in the 1st Test- Bhuvneshwar Kumar for Ishant Sharma.
Ravi Shastri said:
Dropping or picking Bhuvi was not chopping or changing. It was a decision taken according to the pitch and the conditions.​

India also dropped Dhawan for KL Rahul. The question is, if Dhawan was going to be dropped why was he even included in the first Test then?

South Africa won yet another toss and elected to bat first. Exclusion of Bhuvneshwar Kumar meant no wickets with the new ball. South Africa put on 85 for the first wicket and 63 for the 2nd wicket. Markram unfortunately missed out on his 100 as he got out on 95. At 148/2 in walked AB de Villiers as he put on 51 with Amla. de Villiers scored only 20 this time. Amla went on to score 82 while du Plessis scored 63. India bounced back and got some quick wickets close to the end of Day's play. South Africa scored 269/6. Although once again the defensice Captaincy of Kohli came into play as the tail contributed 66 runs for the last 4 wickets. South Africa scored 335 all out in their first innings. Ashwin took 4 wickets- first time in a SENA country.

South Africa opened their bowling with Keshav Maharaj. This pointed to the fact that they expected the ball to turn. India got off to a slow start as they lost Rahul to an extraordinary caught & bowled dismissal on Morkel's bowling. Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri wanted Pujara to show a better intent in this match which to some extent put the pressure on him. Pujara ran himself out on the very first ball. At 28/2 they were under pressure. In walked Virat Kohli. He along with Vijay put on 79 for the 3rd wicket before Vijay was caught behind on 46 of Maharaj. This was a combination of set up and execution from the left-arm spinner inviting Vijay to cut the ball on 4-5 occasions prior to the dismissal. And it worked as Vijay edged the ball to wicket-keeper De Kock. This was followed by yet another terrible innings from Rohit Sharma looking clueless to all the bowler eventually perishing to Rabada lbw on 10 off 27. Kohli at the end of Day 2 was not out on 85. India ended Day 2 at 183/5.

Hardik ran himself out on 15 at the start of Day 3. Kohli and Ashwin put on 71 for the 7th wicket. Kohli scored his 21st century in Tests. He went on to score 153 as he became the Indian Captain with highest individual score in South Africa. Although they were clearly disappointed for not taking a lead as they trailed South Africa by 28 runs scoring 307 all out.

Due to Kohli's knock, India were high on confidence and they looked to quickly bowl out the Proteas. India got a couple of quick wickets in Markarm and Amla both of them falling to similar deliveries from Bumrah getting lbw scoring 1 run. South Africa were now 3/2!!!! But Elgar and de Villiers had different idea as they started to build on a strong partnership. Although, South Africa were really struggling for their runs. Bad light stopped play early on Day 3 to which Kohli was extremely disappointed as he started to question the umpire's decision. On top of it he made some disrespectful remark towards South Africa. He was penalised for his behaviour. It was clear that Kohli was frustrated with India not producing a decent result which was taking over him and made him act out of the ordinary. This is a sign of a Captain who would easily come under pressure if thing don't go right. Indian lacked penetration to get through Elgar and de Villiers as they put on 141 for the 3rd wicket. AB de Villiers went on to score 80 while Elgar scored a gritty 61. du Plessis and Philander also put on a 56-run stand for the 6th wicket. Faf du Plessis scored 48 runs while Philander scored 26. South Africa were bowled out for 258. So far pacers had dominated this match taking 25 out of the 30 wickets. On that surface Ashwin bowled 30 overs in the 2nd innings. The Indian skipper was clearly guilty of over bowling Ashwin which had to a major extent already had lost India this match. India started off really poorly chasing 287 as they were 26/3 and were consequently 65/5. Rohit Sharma played a knock of substance scoring 47 while the rest hardly manage to score 20s. India were bowled out for 151 losing the match by 135 runs and also losing yet another series Overseas. Debutant Lungi Ngidi took 6 wickets in the 2nd innings. The Indian batting was equally to blame for their lack of preparation of facing quality fast bowling in unfavourable batting conditions.

India's coach Ravi Shastri did admit their lack of preparation was the reason they lost this series.

Former South Africa Captain Graeme Smith who also happens to be the best ever Test Captain in Cricket history also questioned Kohli's ability as Captain. He went on to say:
Graeme Smith said:
When I look at Virat, I think he needs someone in the support staff who can constructively challenge him and help him grow. He has all the capabilities tactically, he knows his own game, he sets the standard in the field for everyone else. I think if he had a really constructive person in his environment, who could talk to him, make him think, maybe even challenge him with some different ideas, in a constructive way, not an angry or aggressive way, but make him think, open his eyes to other possibilities, that would make him a really good leader. We all know he's an outstanding player, his intensity really benefits his own personal game, he loves that confrontation, that intensity brings the best out of him. ometimes as a leader you've got to consider how you impact the others in the environment, that's an area of his leadership that he needs to grow. You can see, he's often at his players. He's very aware, he's focus on the game is on, sweeping or mid-on. [But] often his reaction to situations... I think that can sometimes impact on your team negatively. We all know how powerful Virat Kohli is in world cricket, in Indian cricket. For him, he's built this aura and for him maybe to find a level where he can connect with all his players, to get to a level where can get the Indian team to be as successful as he is, that's something that he, when I watch him, is grappling with. As a leader you need to understand the whole environment, talk to the players to try to get the best out of the environment. He might grow as he learns to soften that a little bit. His performances speak for themselves, it's about whether he can get the best out of those around him when they are under pressure.​

Kohli was compelled to bring back Rahane to the playing XI for the 3rd Test. Bhuvi was back in place of R Ashwin. This meant that India were going for an all out pace attack for the Johannesburg Test. This was the 35th consecutive instance when India went unchanged, this is just a ridiculous number!!!!! In the hindsight, South Africa also brought all rounder Andile Phehlulkwayo in place of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj. The pitch for this match had an extremely heavy amount of grass alongside the fact that it was a hard pitch. Which meant that this was going to be an extremely difficult surface for batting. South Africa won the toss and elected to field first.

India were once again under trouble at 13/2. Kohli and Pujara put on 84 for the third wicket. Kohli scored 50. Pujara went on to score 56. India collapsed from 113/3 to 144/7. Bhuvneshwar Kumar's 30 put India to a respectable 187 all out on that surface. India also got a couple of early wickets in Dean Elgar & Markram. Hashim Amla's 60 & Rabada's 30 brought South Africa in a dominating position. But, Jasprit Bumrah had other ideas as he took a 5-fer. South Africa were bowled out on 194. This was an extremely difficult pitch to survive with the ball every now and then hitting the batsmen. The Indian batsmen showed a lot of patience and grit taking blows after blows on their body. They did not give up at all. Vijay scored 25 off 127. Kohli scored 41(79) and Rahane 48(68). Bhuvneshwar Kumar also scored 33. India managed 247 all out in their 2nd innings. Chasing 241, South Africa were in all sorts of trouble. A rising delivery from Bumrah badly hit Elgar and the play was called off owing to a dangerous pitch. It was found out that it was a technical error on part of Elgar and play went ahead on Day 4. Elgar and Amla played extremely well and it looked at one stage that India would lose another match by a big margin. Indian bowlers bounced back. They got Amla out for 52 after which Shami wrecked havoc in the South African camp taking 5/28 as India won by 63 runs. Elgar carried his bat scoring 86 not out. India fought extremely hard to win this match and nothing should be taken away from that but it doesn't change the fact that Kohli's poor team selection and decision making at crucial times in the series cost them a lot!!!!!​
 
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NILAYSHAH60

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Ajinkya Rahane in SENA Countries till India tour of South Africa 2018

MatchesInningsRunsAverage50s100sH/S
1325106948.5963147 v/s Australia, MCG 2014

Ajinkya Rahane in SENA Countries since India tour of South Africa 2018

MatchesInningsRunsAverage50s100sH/S
152983329.7541112 v/s Australia, MCG 2020

Leading run-scorers for India in SENA Countries
*From Rahane's Test debut till India tour of South Africa 2018

PlayerMatchesInningsRunsAverage50s100sH/S
V Kohli1326131252.4836169 v/s Australia, MCG 2014
M Vijay1326108041.5372146 v/s England, Trent Bridge 2014
AM Rahane1325106948.5963147 v/s Australia, MCG 2014
CA Pujara122476331.7931153 v/s South Africa, Wanderer's 2013
MS Dhoni112162131.055082 v/s England, The Oval 2014
S Dhawan102058029.0021115 v/s New Zealand, Auckland 2014
RG Sharma81637424.932072 v/s New Zealand, Auckland 2014
B Kumar61229729.703063* v/s England, Nottingham 2014
RA Jadeja71326722.251068 v/s England, Lord's 2014
R Ashwin61223726.331050 v/s Australia, SCG 2015

*Since 2018
PlayerMatchesInningsRunsAverage50s100sH/S
CA Pujara1427117045.0064193 v/s Australia, SCG 2019
V Kohli122399143.0853149 v/s England, Edgbaston 2018
RR Pant122284642.3022159* v/s Australia, SCG 2019
AM Rahane152983329.7541112 v/s Australia, MCG 2020
MA Agarwal71337528.843077 v/s Australia, MCG 2018
KL Rahul81535623.7301149 v/s England, The Oval 2018
GH Vihari91632521.662056 v/s England, The Oval 2018
RA Jadeja6929949.833086* v/s England, The Oval 2018
Shubman Gill3625951.802091 v/s Australia, Gabba 2021
R Ashwin91723817.000039* v/s Australia, SCG 2021

Ajinkya Rahane runs & averages by year
*Since 2015

YearRunsAverage
201559345.61
201665354.41
201755434.62
201864430.66
201964271.33
202027238.85
202119919.90
 

Untouchables_666

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This has to be one of the most one sided threads I have seen in the cricket discussion thread and I am very disappointed there has not been more counter arguments to support Virat. I know we have some very good cricket posters still but it seems the hate for Virat is so real that it clouds their judgement.

Virat has easily been the best captain of India, perhaps just under Dhoni. He has done what Sachin never could, be a great bat and a great captain. Lets put all that aside for a moment and acknowledge how he has singlehandedly transformed Team India into a team of high fitness levels, before him most Indians struggled with their fitness but Virat’s approach change that.
 

Untouchables_666

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Ajinkya Rahane in SENA Countries till India tour of South Africa 2018

MatchesInningsRunsAverage50s100sH/S
1325106948.5963147 v/s Australia, MCG 2014

Ajinkya Rahane in SENA Countries since India tour of South Africa 2018

MatchesInningsRunsAverage50s100sH/S
152983329.7541112 v/s Australia, MCG 2020

Leading run-scorers for India in SENA Countries
*From Rahane's Test debut till India tour of South Africa 2018

PlayerMatchesInningsRunsAverage50s100sH/S
V Kohli1326131252.4836169 v/s Australia, MCG 2014
M Vijay1326108041.5372146 v/s England, Trent Bridge 2014
AM Rahane1325106948.5963147 v/s Australia, MCG 2014
CA Pujara122476331.7931153 v/s South Africa, Wanderer's 2013
MS Dhoni112162131.055082 v/s England, The Oval 2014
S Dhawan102058029.0021115 v/s New Zealand, Auckland 2014
RG Sharma81637424.932072 v/s New Zealand, Auckland 2014
B Kumar61229729.703063* v/s England, Nottingham 2014
RA Jadeja71326722.251068 v/s England, Lord's 2014
R Ashwin61223726.331050 v/s Australia, SCG 2015

*Since 2018
PlayerMatchesInningsRunsAverage50s100sH/S
CA Pujara1427117045.0064193 v/s Australia, SCG 2019
V Kohli122399143.0853149 v/s England, Edgbaston 2018
RR Pant122284642.3022159* v/s Australia, SCG 2019
AM Rahane152983329.7541112 v/s Australia, MCG 2020
MA Agarwal71337528.843077 v/s Australia, MCG 2018
KL Rahul81535623.7301149 v/s England, The Oval 2018
GH Vihari91632521.662056 v/s England, The Oval 2018
RA Jadeja6929949.833086* v/s England, The Oval 2018
Shubman Gill3625951.802091 v/s Australia, Gabba 2021
R Ashwin91723817.000039* v/s Australia, SCG 2021

Ajinkya Rahane runs & averages by year
*Since 2015

YearRunsAverage
201559345.61
201665354.41
201755434.62
201864430.66
201964271.33
202027238.85
202119919.90
Can anyone explain the relevance of all this crap towards the discussion? Madness!
 

Parth D

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Virat has easily been the best captain of India, perhaps just under Dhoni. He has done what Sachin never could, be a great bat and a great captain. Lets put all that aside for a moment and acknowledge how he has singlehandedly transformed Team India into a team of high fitness levels, before him most Indians struggled with their fitness but Virat’s approach change that.
But then why hasn't the same reflected to his franchise stint?
 

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But then why hasn't the same reflected to his franchise stint?
To be fair I honestly cant answer this question since I have not followed much of the IPL at all. Actually in the earlier years I use to get sick when IPL started. Overtime i gather some info, reluctantly on it, seems RCB always concentrated on a strong batting line up and had a poor bowling set up, Virat will not have much authority over team selection so I cant blame him. I hardly follow T20 international matches also so its possible Virat may be a poor captain when it comes to T20 cricket? I honestly dont know enough to give an answer.
 

Parth D

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To be fair I honestly cant answer this question since I have not followed much of the IPL at all. Actually in the earlier years I use to get sick when IPL started. Overtime i gather some info, reluctantly on it, seems RCB always concentrated on a strong batting line up and had a poor bowling set up, Virat will not have much authority over team selection so I cant blame him. I hardly follow T20 international matches also so its possible Virat may be a poor captain when it comes to T20 cricket? I honestly dont know enough to give an answer.
If you had followed IPL, you would have joined the Kohli hate band wagon as well.

There is absolutely no doubt on Kohli's abilities as a captain. What goes against Kohli is to succumb to the pressure and act as if he is the king pin of the field. That is what goes against likes of Kohli.

This gets hidden in hindsight majority of times when he captains for India for multiple reasons,
- Initally he had Dhoni to take over when need be.
- India itself is a pretty strong team in the first place.
- Every indian player himself is smart enough to adapt to the match pressure. So if things aren't going well, the bowling bowling himself is able to handle the pressure.

But same isn't the case with RCB.
- No MSD behind the stumps
- As you said major imbalance in squad.
- Newbies have less exposure and experience so they ought to rely on their captains for help and support. This is where MSD is a true leader. That is why we see a bowler like unadkat or Mohit Sharma or Deepak chahar work wonders for Chennai or Rising Pune Supergiants under MSD.

And that is why Kohli the captain might be a right captain. But not a fit one.
 

Untouchables_666

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If you had followed IPL, you would have joined the Kohli hate band wagon as well.

There is absolutely no doubt on Kohli's abilities as a captain. What goes against Kohli is to succumb to the pressure and act as if he is the king pin of the field. That is what goes against likes of Kohli.

This gets hidden in hindsight majority of times when he captains for India for multiple reasons,
- Initally he had Dhoni to take over when need be.
- India itself is a pretty strong team in the first place.
- Every indian player himself is smart enough to adapt to the match pressure. So if things aren't going well, the bowling bowling himself is able to handle the pressure.

But same isn't the case with RCB.
- No MSD behind the stumps
- As you said major imbalance in squad.
- Newbies have less exposure and experience so they ought to rely on their captains for help and support. This is where MSD is a true leader. That is why we see a bowler like unadkat or Mohit Sharma or Deepak chahar work wonders for Chennai or Rising Pune Supergiants under MSD.

And that is why Kohli the captain might be a right captain. But not a fit one.
I can appreciate your thoughts here. I posted earlier that perhaps MSD still is India’s best captain ever. Thanks for the explanation.
 

Parth D

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I can appreciate your thoughts here. I posted earlier that perhaps MSD still is India’s best captain ever. Thanks for the explanation.
Similarly I can sense Rohit being the better option as a captain for India in blues. Again he is not MSD but he is quite there*. Like almost.
 

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