Virat Kohli is not : Ray Jennings

Ray Jennings said that Virat Kohli (above) is aware of his aggression and is prepared to learn © Getty Images

Jul 25, 2013
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) coach Ray Jennings praised stand-in India skipper Virat Kohli’s leadership qualities and said that the 24-year-old “has all the makings of a great captain”.
“Virat is a very different kind of a leader,” Jennings told DNA in an interview. “He is someone who leads from the front, someone who loves to make significant contributions with the bat and as a fielder. He has all the makings of a great captain. Virat is a creative guy and he knows the game well. He is full of energy.”
Jennings said that Kohli is still learning the nuances of the trade and needs to be allowed to make mistakes in order to learn. “[The Zimbabwe] series will be his first as a full-time captain. He is just 24 and not 34 or 35. In other words, he is learning. Allow him to make mistakes. And I am sure he will commit a few. But let’s allow him to learn from those.”

Talking about Kohli’s tendency to lose his temper, which has often got him into trouble, Jennings said that Kohli is aware of the problem and is prepared to learn. “Look, Virat is a volatile guy. You need to look at Virat as a person. A lot of people underestimate him. How can he score so heavily if he is not calm? As a person, he is aggressive. Being aggressive is not wrong. It’s got to be a mix of both. Being too calm is also a problem.”

Kohli, who is also captain of RCB, had a much publicised spat with Kolkata Knight Riders skipper and former India teammate Gautam Gambhir during the sixth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Jennings said that Kohli admitted to his error following the episode. “I spoke to him after his spat with Gautam Gambhir. He admitted he made a mistake. The good thing is he is young and prepared to learn. Give him time. And make no mistake, Virat wants to lead…Virat is a very influential player. He has won the Under-19 World Cup. Players respect him.”

Jennings compared Kohli’s aggression to that of the Australians. “You can compare Virat to, say, the Aussies. Like them, he is aggressive. He is not your normal Indian guy. But the good thing is he loves responsibility. And I have seen him speak to players at RCB. He helps them set goals and makes sure they work towards those goals.”

Jennings added that he wants Kohli to “have faith in his cricketing abilities and enjoy the job.” He also wants Kohli to “work on his man management skills”.