Dubai: Everyone speaks about the brilliance in Virat Kohli. Some even believe that he is cricket’s superman. On Sunday, Royal Challengers Bangalore captained by him, crashed out early from the Indian Premier League (IPL) proving that he is mortal and as a captain he is only as good as his team.
Kohli’s failure to inspire Bangalore to IPL title triump, especially on the eve of the World Cup isn’t good for the confidence of this top class batsman. Kohli supporters say that it is good that Bangalore had an early exit and that Kohli being a fighter will come back strongly to prove a point and ensure that he lift the World Cup for India under his captaincy. However, the fact he failed as a captain in this highly competitive tournament will remain as a black mark.
The general opinion is that Bangalore wasn’t a good team and Kohli could have done nothing with such a squad. When Mahendra Singh Dhoni as Chennai Super Kings skipper and Steve Smith as the new skipper of Rajasthan Royals are guiding their teams to victories, where did Kohli go wrong?
Chennai turned out to be an ordinary team when Dhoni wasn’t leading the team and crashed to a huge defeat to Mumbai Indians on their home ground. So the aura of Dhoni transforms Chennai from an ordinary to an unbeatable squad. Smith, who may have been leading Australia but for the ball tampering incident, too showed how he could lift Rajasthan, which looked pathetic under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane, into a winning squad.
Bangalore attributed their defeat to lack of momentum, poor bowling and weak middle order. The job of a captain is to ride the team past each of these defects. If there is momentum, strong batting and bowling, any team is bound to win.
Captaining a Twenty20 side is not like leading a Test squad. A captain has to remain focused all the time and that is what makes Dhoni special. He remains cool even when his plans go wrong where as Kohli expresses his disappointment blatantly when things go amiss. Kohli’s inability to control his emotions did put unnecessary pressure on the players. It is here the value of Ravi Shastri as Team India’s coach comes to the fore because after every match, Shastri being a good conversationalist can rejuvenate players affected by Kohli’s behaviour on the field.
After Bangalore crashed out, Kohli tweeted: “I really believe in the concept of, "you either win or you learn". We fought hard and gave it our all but one thing is for sure, next season we definitely will bounce back stronger than ever with our learnings from this season.” Someone must inform Kohli that being a fighter and an outstanding batsman is not enough, he needs to learn the art of transforming a team into a winning combination when things go wrong and motivate his players controlling his histrionics on the field.