Rahul da Cunha: Kohli ke peeche clone hai
So I don't want to be that whinging and whining arm chair cricket critic, who says obvious things like "That golden streaked Hardik Pandya should have grounded his bat. That's basic ya."
So I don't want to be that whinging and whining arm chair cricket critic, who says obvious things like "That golden streaked Hardik Pandya should have grounded his bat. That's basic ya." (All this because he was captain of his building cricket team, 17 years and 70 kilos ago.)
Yet, for the first time in the history of my passion for test cricket, I feel a sense of gloom. Not because we lost the South Africa series. But, because of the arrogance that has accompanied that loss.
You drop your vice-captain. You reward your best bowler of the first test by replacing him for the second. You leave out your number one wicket keeper with a has-been 'Mr Butter Fingers'.
Virat Kohli is a dude, no question. Rajinikanth on a cricket field. But, as they say in management school, your strength is often your weakness.
I'm risking a mass lynching for this, dear reader, but hear me out.
Virat is a destroyer of bowlers, but I daresay, the potential destroyer of the test team. (Thankfully for India, he still has Dhoni's firm, reassuring hand on his shoulder for the ODI and T20 versions).
I have a question for Mr Kohli: Are you playing with the careers of many players, merely to build them in your shadow?
Make them all clones, grow that beard so you can't tell one from the other under that white cap. So they all behave like you, pumping fists, mouthing profanities, sledging opponents, frankly overacting, over-reacting, just annoyingly OTT.
God forbid we have the day, where we have 10 clones, 11 Virat Kohlis Jack-in-the-boxing around the pitch.
Are you inadvertently saying, "Go out there and express yourself… so long it's like me, exactly like me. Look like me, talk like me… be aggressive like me. And I've decided that you will follow what I say. If you disagree, like you Mr Ex-coach then hell, I'm going to replace you with someone who will fawningly understand."
What happens to the 'quiet' guys in the time of Kohlimania? The restrained, dignified men. Do they have no place in your regime?
Shouldn't you consider celebrating differences? Also, this relentless chopping and changing of the team? What happens to that vital word in sport, 'morale'?
What's Rahane feeling right now? What's Bhuvi going through as we speak?
Everyone seems to tip-toe around you, experts say things like, "Oh with Virat you never how his mind is ticking' — euphemism for "Oh boy, what inexplicable thing has he done now?"
Will Virat be the greatest ever player we've produced? My hunch is yes. Even greater than Sachin, because he is, pardon this alliterative sentence, volatile, hits the ball beautifully in the V and he's Virushka-ed. Sachin only had one of those traits.
But there is a thin dividing line between being a don and a prima donna.
A control freak who can't even control his emotions.
That definitely doesn't a captain make. At least not around my arm chair.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at email@example.com
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