IND vs SA: Virat Kohli's spontaneous reactions can negatively impact team, says Graeme Smith

Updated: 23 January, 2018 12:50 IST | Anand Vasu | Johannesburg

Graeme Smith, the former South African captain, who is currently commentating on the Test series against India, fired the first clear shots at Virat Kohli yesterday

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith, the former South African captain, who is currently commentating on the Test series against India, fired the first clear shots at Virat Kohli yesterday. Smith spoke at breakfast interaction with Sunil Gavaskar organised by SuperSport, one of the broadcasters of this series.Smith, who was thrust into captaincy at an early age himself, had plenty to say about Kohli. "We all know he's an outstanding player, his intensity really benefits his own personal game, he loves that confrontation," said Smith. "Sometimes as a leader you've got to consider how you impact the others in the environment. That's an area of his leadership that needs to grow."

Smith suggested that Kohli's reactions when his teammates misfielded a ball were sometimes so spontaneous and sharp that they might be counter-productive. "Often his reaction to situations… that can sometime impact on your team negatively," said Smith. "We all know how powerful Kohli is in world cricket, in Indian cricket. For him, he's built this aura and for him maybe to find a level where he can connect with all his players, to get to a level where can get the Indian team to be as successful as he is, that's something that he might be grappling with."

Most damningly, Smith wondered how well Kohli's captaincy would be received over the years. "I don't know, when I look at him, if he is a long-term captaincy option for India," said Smith. "When I started at 22, I was a bit like him too, but you're trying to find a consistent method. One to get your team to be successful and still try to understand the different pressures." Smith also underlined the need for Kohli to have others in the environment who pushed him to grow. "When I look at Virat, I think he needs someone who can constructively challenge him and help him grow," said Smith, not directly referring to Anil Kumble, but perhaps with that captain-coach equation in mind.

"He has all the capabilities tactically, he knows his own game, he sets the standard in the field for everyone else. If he had a really constructive person in his environment, who could talk to him, make him think, maybe even challenge him with different ideas, in a constructive way, not an angry or aggressive way, but make him think, open his eyes to other possibilities, that would make him a really good leader." Whether Kohli wants that, or perhaps realises that this may be the best thing for him in the long term, is anybody's guess.

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First Published: 23 January, 2018 12:40 IST

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