When the third umpire decided to end the fifth Day’s play of the fourth Test match at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 7, Monday, Indian cricket team had already rewritten the history books. Team India had won their first ever Test match series in Australia since 1947-48 when both the nations started playing Test matches against each other. Even The Daily Telegraph took note of the historic triumph of the Indian team and called it a “Bollywood Ending” by putting a picture of Indian skipper Virat Kohli with his wife Anushka Sharma on its front page. And the Australian daily couldn’t have been any truer in its assessment.
The Indian cricket team has been playing Australia since the days of legendary Sir Donald Bradman ruled the cricket pitches of the continent. Many iconic Indian captains like Vijay Hazare, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly and even Mahendra Singh Dhoni rallied their troops to the famous Tour Down Under but none of them managed to come back with a grin of triumph on their faces.
Most of the above mentioned Indian leaders might have been one-man army back in their times but Sourav Ganguly had arguably the best Indian Test team of all time. India had the much-celebrated Fab Four in Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman while the bowling juggernaut was led by spin wizards Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. Yet, it was just not enough to overpower the Kangaroos in Australia.
It took over 70 years for the Indian team to topple Australia on its soil and the mind-boggling achievement came under the leadership of none other than Virat Kohli. Swashbuckling, explosive, aggressive, dependable… You will run out of the superlatives to describe the Indian cricketing phenomenon. His ability to lead from the front, both with his batting and captaincy, is absolutely unprecedented.
The Delhi-born Indian skipper fared finely with the bat in the recently-concluded Australia Test series as he managed 282 runs in 4 Test matches hitting a ton and a half-century. However, his main contribution in the series came from the outfield and dugout. The way he utilised his fast bowlers and got the best out of Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant was estimable. Importantly, his aggression and attitude on the pitch kept the morale of his team on a high and ultimately, the 30-year-old reaped rewards of it.
What Virat Kohli has been doing with the bat in all formats of cricket needs no introduction. The least that can be said is that there is a section of cricket community in the world which believes that Virat Kohli is the next Sachin Tendulkar while there are some who opine that the Delhi lad is superior to the legendary Master Blaster.
On his leadership qualities, Virat Kohli is just two Test wins away from rewriting the history written by all-conquering Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Dhoni captained India in 60 Test matches winning 27, losing 18 and drawing 15. Remarkably, Kohli has skippered Team India in only 46 matches and has led them to 26 victories already while losing and drawing 10 matches each.