Virat Kohli is currently resting after a grueling tour of South Africa, where India won the limited overs leg, after losing the Test series. Kohli will be now seen captaining the Royal Challengers Bangalore team in the upcoming IPL 2018 season.
Speaking of captaincy, Virat Kohli received the ICC Test mace from ICC Hall of Famers Graeme Pollock and Sunil Gavaskar in South Africa recently and Gavaskar has now said that Kohli’s captaincy will be tested when he leads Team India on tours to England and Australia.
Writing for TheWeek.in, Gavaskar said, “An honest confession. Way back in 2008, I didn’t think Virat Kohli would turn out to be the sensational batsman he is today, after seeing him in the inaugural season of the IPL. The IPL, of course, is never a true indication of how good a player is going to be.”
He continued, “In 2008, Virat had an ordinary IPL and, technically, his batting looked full of holes. He had a backlift that came in from third man, and, while that is not an issue if the bat comes straighter down when meeting the ball, Virat’s bat kept coming down at an angle, making him vulnerable to the ball that nipped back in. His footwork was also a bit tardy and he tended to play way away from his body, making him lose balance more often than not.”
Gavaskar talked about the transformation of Kohli after IPL 2009, saying, “Virat has been on a rising path to glory. He has worked hard to eliminate the chinks in his batting and has worked even harder on his physical fitness, as he realised that playing three formats of the game requires extreme fitness without which no player can really do well.”
Gavaskar also revealed that he had once passed on a tip to Virat Kohli via Ravi Shastri in 2014.
He wrote, “I asked Ravi to tell Virat to stand outside the batting crease as that will narrow the swing of the ball before it reaches him and so he will get an extra yard to smother it. Ideally, such things ought to be practised and tried in the nets, but Virat was seen standing outside the crease in that game itself and went on to get a half-century. He now stands outside the crease just about every time the wicketkeeper is standing back, and, thus, makes the bowler bowl a length that he wants and not what the bowler wants to bowl.”
Gavaskar further said, “The fitness aspect means that he is now able to score double hundreds with ease, and the big hundreds in limited over cricket where there is constant running—not just his own runs, but also his batting partners’. The scoring pattern has now become almost 360 degrees and there’s no real stopping him.”
Finally, Gavaskar wrote that India’s upcoming tours to Australia and England will define Virat Kohli as a captain.
Gavaskar wrote, “The coming one year could well be a turnaround year in Indian cricket. The tours to England and Australia will define Virat’s captaincy, and wins in both series will give Indian cricket added impetus. It is a wonderful time to be an Indian cricket supporter. India has a terrific team, with a support staff that is leaving no stone unturned in order to get the team right to the top in all three formats. Above all, India has a captain who will be the torchbearer and the leading light that will take them there.”