by Sudipta Biswas
What does come in your mind when you first hear the name Virat Kohli? Kohli- the run-machine- who is known for his penchant of slamming hundred after hundred!
But, what about the captain in Kohli! Going into his first World Cup as a leader of the team it was said that captaining India could be a difficult task for him because he lacks tactical acumen.
He was criticized severely for failing to lead Team India setting an example in MS Dhoni’s absence. He was torn apart with criticism for losing cool when his team is under pressure. It is an open secret that he depends heavily on former India captain Dhoni to keep things under control in the limited overs cricket.
But, when Dhoni is not around Kohli’s ability as a captain often comes under the scanner.
Terrific start to the World Cup for the captain Virat Kohli. Good attacking stuff. Helps when you've got someone as good as Boom.— Aaditya Narayan (@Aaditya_LFC) June 5, 2019
The 2011 World Cup winning captain of India, Dhoni, is definitely a master tactician of the game. His ability to read the game is better than the most. So, his presence in the team is a big plus for India in the ongoing World Cup.
Before the quadrennial tournament gets underway cricket pundits said that India’s fortune in the World Cup will depend on the understanding between Kohli and Dhoni.
Kohli’s dependency on Dhoni for advice and inputs at crucial the juncture of a match, given the wicket-keeper’s vast experience and tactical acumen considered as a normal facet of contemporary Indian cricket.
Kohli rises above the shadow of Dhoni
Yes, his vice-captain Rohit Sharma and Dhoni chipped in with their important inputs, but it was Kohli taking the final call. He was pro-active, making frequent field changes according to the need of bowlers and situations.
He was asking his players to exactly where they have to take their place. He was very confident with his own decision. His constant bowling changes and bringing them in and out never allowed South Africa to read India’s strategy.
In front of Kohli’s tactical acumen, South Africa were always under pressure through their innings. He encouraged his fielders to pull the sprint hard to chase down the ball and come up with inputs when they were found sloppy.
He was doing all these setting an example in his very World Cup match as a captain. He was a livewire, jumping and diving around the looking as sharp as ever. His performance as a fielder encouraged his teammates to adhere to the same approach to the game.
His intent as a fielder also played a vital role in his captaincy. He was responding fast to the situations, taking quick decisions.
Seeing the cloud cover hanging above the ground, and Proteas were struggling against Jasprit Bumrah, he brought himself as the third slip in the sixth over of the innings and immediately got the reward of his quick decision, taking a sharp catch offered by opener Quinton de Kock.
When vice-captain Sharma failed to take a low catch offered by Faf du Plessis off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kohli asked him to move to point and brought himself at the second slip.
Kohli’s great day out as a captain was definitely got support from Dhoni and Sharma. Dhoni even fine-tuned the field positions making a few changes, especially when the spinners were in action. But it was crystal clear who was in charge of the proceeding.
And he proved his leadership skills notching a stunning record, becoming fastest captain from the sub-continent to win 50 ODIs.
It was a pleasure to see Kohli grows as a captain and put his opponent under pressure as per his will. His control over the game will, no doubt, help India as the tournament progress.
Now it will not be out of sort to say that captain Kohli has finally risen above the shadow of Dhoni, and he is here to dominate both as a batsman and captain. So, 2019 World Cup can be a landmark tournament for him.
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