But the selectors’ choice was always Virat Kohli and the Delhi man it was, who took charge of the team when Mahendra Singh Dhoni injured his right hamstring during the first game against the West Indies at Kingston on Sunday. Kohli’s unpredictable ways notwithstanding, the establishment cannot be pardoned for not naming a deputy for the series. Vice-captaincy involves leadership as well, and this aspect must be dealt with in all thoroughness.
If Kohli views his elevation positively, it will help his batting. If he considers it as an additional burden, it will reflect in his scores at a time when he is a bit short of runs.
For someone who has scored 13 hundreds in his 104-match ODI career, he has not worked his way to a three-figure score in 15 games now. In fact, his highest in the last 15 games has been 77 — in the home series against England early this year. And his best effort in India’s victorious Champions Trophy campaign was 58.
Not only it is time to get some good, meaningful scores, it is also a good opportunity for Kohli to emulate Dhoni’s cool ways of handling prickly situations. Often Kohli has shown that he has a foul temper and can go over the boil.
When Dhoni returns, Kohli must use his leadership experience to be a better vice-captain. Probably, that will even force the BCCI to avoid any ambiguity where this critical position is concerned. As the cliché goes, Kohli’s task is cut out.