Uzair Rizvi for BeyondHeadlines
Team India did not have a good run at the Asia Cup, as the team could not able to make it to the finals after losing two crucial games against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Much of the talk surrounded the team’s inconsistency with both batting and bowling. However, there is one debate that has left the doors open over the possible leadership change in Indian team.
Indian skipper MS Dhoni pulled out of the tournament at the last moment due to a side strain, as Vice-captain Virat Kohli was assigned the task of captaining team India in Asia Cup, who is widely tipped to be future skipper. However, Kohli himself admitted that it will be a big challenge to not have Dhoni around.
Kohli took the challenge and delivered a thunderbolt performance in the tournament opener against Bangladesh by scoring a century and leading India to a victory. In next game against Sri Lanka, Kohli scored a brisk 48, but India lost the game and in a crucial match against arch-rivals Pakistan, Kohli failed to trouble the scorers as he got out in a single digit score.
With all the matches that India played, they could have won their games but came up empty against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in final-over thriller. Kohli managed to score 189 runs in three games with an average of 63. He did not bat against Afghanistan, as India comfortably chased down a small target.
Looking at those figures, one would say that Kohli played well, infact really well, but the standard which Virat Kohli has already set for himself, these scores are not upto his level, except for one century. This also allowed Kohli to lose 2 positions from 8th to 10th in ICC’s ODI rankings.
So, what really happened, did the extra pressure of captaincy give him the troubles while he was batting. Though, Kohli is the only player that shoulders a lot of responsibility in the Indian batting line-up with his consistent batting but at Asia Cup he did not play on his merits.
However, his tactics while fielding were sometimes questionable, but were effective as far as rotation of bowlers were concerned. He did a lot of bowling changes during the game against Pakistan, short spells of all his bowlers in mid-overs really started to trouble the Pakistan batsmen, as they were not being allowed to settle for one type of bowler and eventually gave their wickets away.
He looked aggressive as always, backed up his bowlers with some smart field changes.
Captaincy is not new for him as he has already managed and led Under-19 Indian team to world cup glory and also leads Royal Challangers Bangalore in IPL.
However, the big question arises that is he ready to take over the captaincy from MS Dhoni, who has been under heavy criticism following their abysmal tour to New Zealand, where team India failed to register a single win.
The 2011 world cup hero brought India to the top of test rankings in 2011 is now being fiercely criticized as team India have failed to register a single series win overseas since 2011. India have not won a single match out of the 12 matches played in four overseas test series- against England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Here is an absolute necessity to raise a question mark.
However, thrusting the leadership on 25-year old Kohli might also turn against their favor, as Kohli is already has enough responsibility as the team’s star batsman.
So with T-20 World cup going on, Dhoni is back as captain but with just under a year to go for the 2015 Cricket World Cup to be played down under, it would be interesting to see whether, India will keep faith in Dhoni or Kohli will take over the reign after the T-20 world cup.