Former Indian skipper Kapil Dev is skeptical about Virat Kohli taking up the limited-overs captaincy from MS Dhoni, and he fears that Kohli might feel overburdened with responsibilities now. He feels that Kohli’s real test starts now but is confident that he will adapt quickly to this new role.
“I’m a great Virat fan but I fear he might feel overburdened now.
“Virat needs a good start in the series (against England) as a batsman and in terms of results, and pray things fall in place. I don’t want him to feel the burden in limited overs because his captaincy in Tests is more important to me,” Kapil Dev told the Hindustan Times.
Kohli has made a bright start to his captaincy career in the five-day format of the game with Test series wins against Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, and England, however, leading the team in the limited-overs format might take some time to get used to.
Virat is an emotional cricketer and while that has been his strength as a player, Test captaincy has allowed him to mature.
“Virat is an emotional cricketer and while that has been his strength as a player, Test captaincy has allowed him to mature and handle different situations accordingly. Limited overs will be challenging and with superman-like expectations, he definitely will need time to settle down. We all need to give him that,” Kapil added.
Kapil is positive about Kohli adapting well, though. He pointed out to how quickly Kohli adapted to using the DRS in the Test series against England, and how he had learnt from his field-placing mistakes.
“Look at how he availed of DRS in the first Test. He was charged up and almost restless and would take the call from wherever he was fielding. But then he realised his mistake. By the time the last Test was played, he was not relying just on bowlers, he would go to specific fielders or the wicketkeeper for suggestions. He adapted well and that showed his maturity. He will lose a few games too and that will be his biggest challenge --- how quickly to get out of that situation. The entire country has hopes from him,” he said.
Kapil has also praised MS Dhoni for stepping aside at the right time. He said, “I wasn’t happy with the way Dhoni quit Test cricket, rather unexpectedly in the middle of an away series, this time he was dead right. To my mind, he is one of India’s best captains and he passed the baton to Virat, giving him time to look at Champions Trophy and prepare for the 2019 World Cup.”
Both Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, who has returned to the ODI and T20I sides, have expressed their wish to play till the 2019 World Cup, and Kapil Dev feels that their performances can have a huge say in India defending their Champions Trophy crown.
“Nobody can doubt the talent Dhoni and Yuvraj have, but when you are 34-35, talent alone doesn’t help. So many things have to be looked at --- fitness, motivation and above all runs. They will obviously have Virat’s confidence, but performances will count more than anything. If Dhoni and Yuvraj do well at No 4 and 5 in this series, India will stand a better chance of defending the Champions Trophy,” he explained to HT.
Kapil Dev, however, refused to get drawn into the Dhoni-Ganguly comparisons, which was recently fuelled by Ravi Shastri. Instead, Kapil choose to praise Sunil Gavaskar. He said, “It is Ravi’s call, whoever he thinks is a great captain in his mind, but if you ask me, I would rate Sunil Gavaskar above many other Indian captains. Sunny didn’t have the resources in those times so he didn’t win much but suppose he had the same players as say Dhoni or Dada (Ganguly), he would have also won a lot. It is the team that makes you a good or bad captain though smart leaders know how to make best use of resources at their disposal.”