India captain Virat Kohli continues to be impressive, says Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell reckons Virat Kohli's opening gambit as captain ended in gallant defeat, as India narrowly went down, but it will be upon the Indian skipper to end the England tour on a high
It's easy to overlook Virat Kohli's enormous influence as captain of this talented Indian team. Kohli is a good captain and a strong leader. He's embraced the first rule of successful captaincy; if you are given the responsibility then make sure you lead. He placed his colourful imprint on the Indian team right from the outset as he stood in for the injured skipper MS Dhoni at the Adelaide Oval in 2014-15. His opening gambit as captain ended in gallant defeat, as India narrowly went down, sooled on by Kohli to seek an unlikely victory.
Going all out for victory
The impressive thing about his captaincy in that match was not so much his inspirational batting but the logic behind the headlong dash for victory. Kohli reasoned that the Indian batsmen would eventually be overwhelmed if they played purely for survival on a pitch receptive to spin and that their best chance of survival was to attack.
The captain led the charge by producing the best fourth innings counter-attack I've seen. It resulted in his second century in the match which would've led to a glorious victory if he hadn't holed out near the boundary to one of Nathan Lyon's least dangerous deliveries.
My first thoughts on Kohli's captaincy were that he would have to curb his, at times, volatile emotions. An extremely emotional cricketer, I felt this could adversely effect his thought process and in turn, those of his teammates.
He has remained a highly emotional leader — in the second innings at Trent Bridge he was so hyped I thought he might leap in front of the 'keeper from third slip and try to thieve a catch — but this appears to have a positive effect on his team. The players want to perform for him which is a crucial aspect of successful leadership. If the players respect the captain and are all pulling in the same direction it shows up in their determination to overcome setbacks. At Trent Bridge, India charged back into the series with an emphatic victory following two deflating losses.
Positive response to field placing
India has rounded-up a decent all-round attack and they've responded well to Kohli's field placings that are predominately designed to capture wickets. The arrival of Jasprit Bumrah has added an extra dimension to what was already a good pace attack and Kohli has managed to extract the best out of Ishant Sharma, whose newly found consistency has played a big part.
However India's attack will face a stern challenge in Australia with its firm surfaces and unhelpful ball but this will be balanced by bowling to a depleted batting line up. The Indian bowlers again performed with skill and discipline at the Rose Bowl. Thanks to their efforts, combined with the concentration of Cheteshwar Pujara — who showed why he shouldn't have been omitted from the first Test in emulating his skipper's determination to succeed.
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