Virat Kohli : Combatively Led From The Front And Took The Rivals Head-On

Picture : BCCI / Twitter

After Virat Kohli in a stunning decision on twitter announced his decision to resign as Test skipper after seven years at the helm, it shocked many fans . The move came just after India had lost the Test series to a new look South Africa 2-1. After leading the series 1-0.

Virat’s press conference before leaving for the South Africa tour and his contradicting what BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said in regard to his losing the ODI captaincy had sparked off a storm. It  saw Virat taking on none other than the BCCI. The rattled BCCI too did not take the matter further given the team was now playing a series abroad.

But post SA Tests series loss , one feels Virat knew from his inner mind that his days Test skipper were numbered and the BCCI might sack him sooner than later. Hence Virat took the step himself.  It may be re- called that before the South Africa series, Virat  was removed as ODI skipper and replaced by Rohit Sharma.  Virat had earlier announced his move to step down as India’s T20 I skipper after the T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE.

But nevertheless , the 33- year-old Superstar Kohli will have a reason to feel proud of his achievement’s as Test skipper- He led India in 68 Test matches — winning 40, losing 17 and drawing 11 matches — with a win percentage of 58.82 wins in 68 Tests. Thus making his India’s most successful Test Captain. He  was given the reins of the side back in 2014 when MS Dhoni stepped down in the middle of the series against Australia. The rest is history !

Taking over from MS Dhoni in 2014 when India were languishing at seventh in the Test rankings , but under Kohli it was rise all the way.  India reached the numero uno spot. The Test series win Australia 2018 – 19  and runner up at the WTC Finals in 2021 were the highs on the Test arena.

Overall, Virat has etched his name in history  as he is the  fourth most successful captain in history of Test cricket (who have led in at least 20 Tests) in terms of wins behind South African Greame Smith (53 wins in 109 matches) and Aussies  Steve Waugh (41 wins in 57 games) and Ricky Ponting (48 in 77 games).

Bu the biggest take way from Virat Kohli’s captaincy was that he captained  the team combatively across all formats . The team too responded to his style of aggressive cricket.  He gave it all in quest for victory . Yes, he was aggressive, expressive, demonstrative in his style of leadership that had shocked the purists of the game but it gave a message. We are here to fight hard  and to win. Team India had long faced the brunt of rival teams having a go at Indian team’s with their mind games and on-field aggression . But under Virat – Team India was different and not willing to take things lying low . Virat Kohli played the game hard and did not shy away from taking on the rivals head-on . Team India gave it back to it’s rivals.  This was the new India .

Moreover, It is indeed ironical  to find  that Virat’s on- field mannerisms ruffle many fans and critics alike. The  classic double speak is palpable when  some critics  would often cite – then skipper Sourav Ganguly’s famous taking shirt off celebrations at the Lord’s balcony after the 2002 Natwest finals against England  – as the ultimate sign of aggression by an Indian skipper. So  to loathe Virat and praise Ganguly is simply hypocrisy .

That Virat was skipper across all formats for so many years  speaks volumes of his  fantastic fitness regimen. He made the  Indian team one of the  fittest in the business and one that could shine both at home and away .  This is his biggest contribution .

As Virat moves away from Test captaincy , his role in supporting the game’s premiere  format was acknowledged by Aussie legend Shane Warne. who tweeted, thankyou for supporting test cricket so passionately and insuring that it stays the number 1 form of the game.

And that he had a telling impact on the game with his brand of aggressive captaincy could be judged from the amazing support and hailing his leadership from people across different fields . From  former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, Batting Legend Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh,  Aussie Legend Shane Warne, West Indian great Sir Viv Richards, Bollywood stars – Arjun Rampal, Ranveer Singh, Pakistan seamer Mohammed Amir among several others were effusive in their praise for Virat and what he had achieved .

There is no doubt in mind that  Virat leaves a legacy tough to match . Whoever the BCCI names as the Next Test skipper Of India . One thing is absolutely certain – He will will have big shoes to fill in . And it will not be a easy ride. Clearly testing times ahead for Indian cricket .


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