Virat Kohli: Captain who aimed for victory at all costs

Aiming for victory at risk of losing and bowling five bowlers were two non-negotiable things for Virat Kohli, India’s most successful Test captain.

Having taken over as Test captain of MS Dhoni in the middle of a series in Australia in 2014, Kohi changed the way India played the five-day game.

Substituting for the injured Dhoni in the Adelaide Test, Kohli didn’t once think of a draw with India requiring 364 carries in 98 overs on day five. His aggressive approach rubbed off on the whole squad as the visitors came terrifyingly close to a famous win before losing the game by 48 points. ”At no time did we think of running after the score. We came here to play positive cricket. No kind of negativity is welcome in this group. That’s the kind of conviction we came here with,’ Kohli said after the defeat which sowed the seeds for many famous overseas wins during his seven years as captain. “It was one of our best performances away from home in the last two or three years, and I’m really proud of how the boys played in this game.” but Kohli ensured that India became the team for all conditions, he took the place and removed himself from the equation. Five Bowler Theory That Reaped Rich Rewards ========================== Before Kohli, winning a test overseas was considered a big deal, but when he shocked the cricketing world by stepping down as captain on Saturday, his rich heritage included a team mentality that was content with nothing less than a series win. What allowed Kohli to consistently win Test matches abroad was the fast bowling resources at his disposal. The likes of Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah flourished under his leadership becoming India’s most formidable bowling attack of all time. Former head coach MSK Prasad, whose majority of tenure coincided with Kohli’s reign as captain in all three formats, has explained how the champion hitter contributed to India’s resounding success in all formats. ”First of all, I think he’s built a winning culture next door, especially away from home. He introduced the five bowler theory and the fitness culture he helped change before that,’ Prasad, who thought Kohli had three more years of captaincy in him, told PTI. ”He brought aggression to the side. Kohli and the rest of the stakeholders created a bench of fast bowlers who helped us take 20 wickets when we were traveling. ===== Kohli had managed to build a solid pace attack for all conditions, but the x factor was missing, which was ultimately provided by Jasprit Bumrah, who since his test debut in South Africa four years ago years, became one of the best bowlers in the world. ”I still remember that in 2017 we decided to prepare Bumrah for an away series. We gave him a rest after limited cricket and told him to focus on his red ball cricket. He took six wickets in Ranji’s semi-final that year and that convinced Virat and all of us that he could excel in test cricket,’ Prasad recalled.

Rohit Sharma the opener turned out to be a masterstroke ================================ Although the decision to push Rohit to the top of the order to resurrect his Test career was suggested by head coach Ravi Shastri, Kohli has completely bought into the idea.

This not only revived Rohit’s Test career but also gave the team the shot maker the team was looking for at the top of the list. Kohli wanted his bowlers to take 20 wickets and his batters to make runs and not just survive. Bowlers have delivered on that promise more often than not, but batting remains a work in progress with a star-studded line-up coming overseas on several occasions, most recently to South Africa. ‘One of the best captains ever’ ======================== Former India captain and head coach Dilip Vengsarkar, who gave to his Kohli his great international cricketing chance after following his career from U-16 level, believes it would be difficult to match Kohli’s exemplary record as captain. ”40 wins in 68 tests (fourth in overall wins category). The archives speak in glowing terms of his captaincy. His positive outlook on the game, he always looked to bowl five bowlers which could sometimes backfire but that’s how he played the game. In the end the team won many games with this approach,” Vengsarkar said.

Kohli has endured her fair share of lows with all-time highs. He led the team to Test victories in England and South Africa in addition to the series victory in Australia, but could not get his hands on the ICC World Test Championship trophy as he was the best team in this two-year cycle.

India won a series in Australia for the very first time in 2018-19 in addition to reaching new heights in limited overs cricket.

”The success rate under him in all formats is outstanding. We were number one in all formats of the game. We beat every team in their own backyard in limited overs cricket. “However, a low point would definitely be not being able to win series in South Africa and England in 2018. Both series were close but we ended up on the wrong side,” Prasad lamented.

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