Ex-cricketer Mike Brearley hails Virat Kohli-driven pride and aggression

Feb 02, 2018, 16:54 IST | Noel D'Souza

The Indian team management received enormous flak for continuously tinkering its playing XI during the recently-concluded Test series in South Africa

Dilip Vengsarkar launches Mike Brearley's book. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Dilip Vengsarkar launches Mike Brearley's book. Pic/Suresh Karkera

The Indian team management received enormous flak for continuously tinkering its playing XI during the recently-concluded Test series in South Africa. Under Virat Kohli's leadership, India have changed their playing XI every single time, a fact that surprised former England skipper Mike Brearley, who backed the move. "I find it extraordinary and probably because it has to do with some unsettling in the team when you have too many changes. Of course, it could be too gratifying to the team or too complacent to the team to have changes.

Just because you won the last Test, doesn't mean you have to play the same team, you should change. "Maybe what has come in with T20 cricket is greater openness to variability. You have to come and bowl one over and then you are taken off. You have to bowl an over of wide yorkers, then have to bowl an over of good length. You have to be very flexible and quick to adjust," Brearley, regarded as one of the greatest captains of all time, said yesterday during the launch of his latest book On Form at the hands of former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar.

Brearley, a professional psychoanalyst as well, lauded Kohli's leadership on the field and found no harm in his wild celebrations and animated gestures. "I admire him enormously. He has given the team pride and aggression. He is always attentive, keen-eyed, wonderful batsman and shrewd," the veteran Middlesex batsman added.

However, he felt that Kohli needs to be kept in check like any leader of a country. "He needs to have people he listens to and people who tell him where he's getting things wrong. John F Kennedy (former US President) used to have a group of people whose job was to criticise his policies — that seems to be very healthy," he said. Brearley was a tad disappointed to see pitches tailored to match the home teams' strengths. "It's a drawback of international cricket that there are too many home wins. I don't like the idea of people making pitches too much in favour of their own bowlers," he said.

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