I am happy that today Virat Kohli is at the stage where his example is given around the world. While former England captain Nasir Hussain calls him a very compact player, Australia’s limited overs captain Aaron Finch ranks him among the four players in the world as a very consistent player. Apart from Virat, Finch has named Steve Smith, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar.
Indeed, six years ago the Adelaide Test changed the picture and mindset of Indian cricket. Virat also believes so. When the team had to chase a score of over 400, everyone at that time in the dressing room was waiting for their instructions as to whether the captain would go for the draw. But I was glad that he tried to win . The approach with which he batted was amazing. I remember,- he was caught at deep mid-wicket off Nathan Lyon after scoring a century. In both the innings, he scored a century. This was one of his best innings ever. If India had won, it would have been a new chapter in Indian cricket. Virat gets very emotional even today by remembering both innings.
I remember that when Virat took over the captaincy of Team India, he told me that he wanted to change the scenario of Indian cricket. He also said that we could have win many matches abroad but could not.
When Australian or England players used to sledge, our players avoided all these things but Virat ended that practice. He even used to defend our bowlers at the time of sledging them. He adopted a very aggressive attitude. He gave a message to the country that with his team’s great performance they can win the matches abroad and play with eyes in eyes. In this case, he reflects the captaincy like Saurabh.
I respect Saurabh for supporting players like Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan. His decision in this case proved to be very correct. Saurabh had since identified who could play for a long time. There is a Saurabh-like aggression in Virat’s captaincy. Aaron Finch rightly said that Virat, Smith, Ponting and Sachin did not fail in two consecutive series. His comment is a big one. In fact, only the Australian manual is followed at the National Cricket Academy which says that the batsman’s job is to be consistent in his performance. I have emphasized the same thing with Virat and advised him that he should build his inning. In fact, these four are extremely consistent. Of course, Finch has said that playing with the country and facing the pressure of captaincy is a great quality of Virat.
Stokes is an excellent all-rounder and possess number one position in the world as an all-rounder. He can make good calculations in his game but to lead the team is a different thing in which there is a lot of thought that needs to be done for the team to creating a strategy for the team. I wish him all the best for the responsibility of becoming captain but how successful he will be in this role is difficult to say as of now. Actually, Nasir Hussain has a good grasp on cricket. I often tell children in my academy that if you get to hear Nasir Hussain, Gavaskar and Ian Chappell`s commentary, you will definitely get to learn something.
If the series is played against the rest of Australia in December, then I would expect a similar aggressive game from Virat. If you play defensively for a team like Australia, it will not work.
Anyway, Virat’s fans are in large numbers in Australia. I feel that Virat is who believes in aggressive sports, One who knows how to play with eyes in eyes. He also knows how to answer sledging. I am confident that Team India will be able to replicate the success of the previous Australian tour.
(Author is a coach of Virat Kohli and a Dronacharya Awardee)