Home > Features >

Virat Kohli faces his biggest challenge in the form of Asia Cup 2014 as captain

Asia Cup will be Virat Kohli's (right) biggest and the defining challenge as a captain © AFP
Asia Cup 2014 will be Virat Kohli’s (right) biggest and the defining challenge as a captain © AFP

By Aqib Shahzad Bhatti

Many might not know this but the ongoing Asia Cup 2014 is not the first time that Virat Kohli’s skills as a captain are being tested. Kohli led the Indian Under-19 team in a series in Malaysia in 2008 and it was there that he earned his merit as a leader for the first time.

Similarly, he led the Indian team in a series against Zimbabwe in 2013 and was also captain for a few matches against West Indies in the same year. On both occasions, he further reiterated his value as a skipper.

India is one country which makes the best use of its young U-19 talent and Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are prime examples of this. However, with Dhoni’s consistency as a captain and his relentless performance, Kohli has not been able to showcase his talent and ability.

Until now.

There is no doubt that Kohli has established himself as an internationally renowned batsman. But the question on everyone’s mind now is can Kohli prove himself to be Indian cricket’s next leader?

As captain, Kohli cannot afford to make any mistakes, even minor ones, because this tour’s results will have long-term effects. It will decide whether Kohli is the right man to become Dhoni’s permanent replacement. So, if Kohli doesn’t play his cards right, he may not be able to impress the selectors.

Kohli was the best available option to lead the Indian side during the Asia Cup, after Dhoni was ruled out from the series due to his side-strain injury.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been grooming Kohli to be the next captain and it has tested him in eight matches so far, during 2013, out of which he won seven – all the while maintaining an exceptional batting performance himself.
Although five of the said matches were against the relatively weak Zimbabwe team, clean sweeping any team is not easy and it was evident during these matches that Kohli has gotten the hang of captaincy.

Kohli’s biggest challenge will come from his own fans. At a time when India is a world champion and a Champions Trophy winner, the anticipation to win the third biggest One Day International (ODI) tournament is in itself a huge expectation and the burden will of course, fall on Kohli’s shoulders.

Any result other than victory will be unacceptable to the Indians. And so Kohli has his game cut out for him.

Moreover, although the Indian team is quite young, this young blood could be an advantage for Kohli. His tactic to change the bowling line-up while he was captaining the U-19 side impressed everyone. This is the most important strength of any captain since a mediocre bowling line-up, which lacks lethal potential, is a recipe for disaster. Kohli will have to make bowling changes sensibly, especially with the current team of novice bowlers.

Dhoni’s widely appreciated tactic was that he used his part-time bowlers and got wickets from them. Part-timers like Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and occasionally even Kohli, proved to be Dhoni’s strengths.

But only time will tell how Kohli will adjust his bowling to the need of the hour.

Another concern is that sometimes a player’s own performance is hampered due to the pressure of being a captain. However, Kohli’s batting performance during the eight matches he captained was unaffected. In fact, he managed to make runs at an average of 66 and made a couple of centuries as well. Evidently, he can handle the pressure while being a high-performing player.

In a nutshell, Kohli appears to be the best possible replacement for Dhoni. His positive attitude and his hunger for victory will help India win the series and mark itself as a world champion, yet again.

Pakistan, along with Sri Lanka, is one of the favourite teams for this tournament. But Pakistan will face extra pressure as the defending champions and the security tensions in Bangladesh will not make it any easier. However, the team has managed to play a fairly good opening match.

The current captains of India and Pakistan are on opposite ends of their captaincy careers — one is beginning his career as captain while the other is among the most experienced players in the game.

Misbah-ul-Haq is a master of pressure-packed matches and is the ultimate choice for leading the national side, whereas Kohli still has to prove himself and his captaincy abilities.

Even after all the debates and speculations, the Pakistan-India match will be a thrilling one to watch, especially, with the young blood on both sides. Fans from both countries have already made plans to enjoy this edge-of-the-seat match on the weekend.

Here’s hoping that Kohli will rise to the occasion and impress everyone with the talent he has been gifted with.

(Aqib Shahzad Bhatti is an inveterate sports devotee who loves writing. His Twitter handle is @aqibbhatti. The above article has been republished with permission from http://tribune.com.pk/)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 55 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Mumbai Indians won by 9 wkts

Photos

CSK vs KKR, Match 1 CLT20 2014

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Sourav Ganguly: Hope India-Pakistan cricket starts soon

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 Match 3: Cape Cobras’ likely XI

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 — Key battles

Herbert Chang: The Jamaican of Chinese origin who wasted his life in South Africa

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) in CLT20 2014 – Highlights

Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs KKR Hobart Hurricanes Kings XI Punjab Kings XI Punjab vs Hobart Hurricanes KKR vs CSK Kolkata Knight Riders Mumbai Indians Northern Knights Pakistan West Indies

Marvan Atapattu confident of becoming Sri Lanka’s full time coach

Curtly Ambrose autobiography to be published in 2015

Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights Live Cricket Score CLT20 2014 3rd Match at Raipur

Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights Live Scorecard CLT20 2014 3rd Match at Raipur

Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights Live Streaming CLT20 2014 3rd Match at Raipur

Chris Cairns cleaning bus shelters? Why?

Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014 Match 3: Northern Knights’ likely XI

Sourav Ganguly: Hope India-Pakistan cricket starts soon

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 Match 3: Cape Cobras’ likely XI

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 — Key battles

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

669 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) CLT20 2014

iCloud for Windows update brings iCloud Drive to PCs before Macs

Funny Fashion Phonetics: How do you pronounce ‘Brassiere’ or ‘Haute Couture’?

World Alzheimer’s day 2014: 10 early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

GTL Infrastructure shares rose by 5 percent on tower deal with Reliance Jio Infocomm

Will India’s new plan to reduce child mortality work?

Asian Games 2014: Wrestler Amit Kumar believes Arjuna Award would’ve inspired him at Incheon

Farhan Akthar, AR Rahman, Sonu Nigam mourn Mandolin Srinivas’ death!

When Chunky Pandey meets Bappi Lahiri, you get a Ranveer Singh!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here