Former South African coach –Ray Jennings, who has witnessed Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s progress from his U-19 days while coaching Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), feels that he is still not at his best as captain, believing the right-hander can be "intimidating in the dressing room" and needs a guide who can maximize his potential as a leader.
Speaking to Press Trust of India, Ray Jennings said, “As captain, I think, he is still not at his best. The Indian cricket system has to feed off Virat Kohli. Going from MS Dhoni to Kohli has been a drastic change. Dhoni is so calm and Kohli is the complete opposite. He can be intimidating in the dressing room and sometimes his teammates can wonder who Kohli really is.”
He further added, “There can be a fear factor in the dressing room and you don't want that with so many youngsters coming into the side. Indian cricket, thus, has to find people who can help and influence Kohli into ways of improving and becoming an even better leader.”
Jennings also believes that the aggressive Indian skipper will get better and calm down with age, adding, “With age, Kohli will get better and calm down a lot naturally. He will not be so aggressive and in your face all the time. But in certain situations, when things are not so calm or even just to take that fear factor away from the dressing room, who will teach Kohli to become a better version of himself? He is smart enough and passionate enough to want to change. He wants to be the best, and he does have skills to be the best player in the world, yet he needs some assistance.”
He further said of Kohli, “I think 32 is the best age for any batsman and he is yet to get there, so you can add a few more hundreds to that 33 mark. I was the coach of South Africa Under-19s when he led India to the Under-19 World Cup win (2008). From that time itself, I thought he was someone who stood out in his age group in terms of batting. In all my experience, he is the best player against spin that I have ever seen. Is he better than Sir Don Bradman? I don't know, but he is definitely amongst the top-two batsmen in the world at the moment. People talk about his overseas record, but in the Test series, he outscored Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf Du Plessis in their home conditions.”
On being asked about ongoing One Day series between India and South Africa, Jennings believes that the hosts have already lost the series, as Kohli ‘will not let the 2-0 advantage slip away.’
He signed off by saying, “Kohli is so aggressive that he will not let the 2-0 advantage slip away. South Africa are missing AB and Faf, and their middle order is so inexperienced. Maybe one game will get washed away, though I am not sure. Maybe South Africa will win one game. But to my mind, the series is already lost.”