Virat Kohli has enjoyed a very good captaincy stint with the Indian national team up until now.
With Dhoni still available for selection in the limited overs setup, despite resigning from captaincy in January last year. Dhoni and Kohli’s intimate relationship and mutual respect have ensured that India haven’t really had to go through a transition period with respect to captaincy in limited overs cricket.
However, Kohli is on his own in Test cricket, but has been fortunate enough to have taken over captaincy at a time when India were on the cusp of playing one their biggest and longest home seasons.
Any which way, Virat Kohli has shown glimpses of brilliance in his captaincy, instilling that ‘never say die’ attitude in his players and making fitness a huge part of the Indian cricketing ecosystem.
Kohli has also captained RCB in the IPL, and RCB’s former coach Ray Jennings feels that Kohli needs to work a little on his captaincy and how he deals with people in the dressing room.
Jennings feels that Kohli can be a little intimidating in the dressing room, something that can prove detrimental for the youngsters coming into the national side.
“As captain, I think, he is still not at his best. The Indian cricket system has to feed off Virat Kohli. Going from MS Dhoni to Kohli has been a drastic change. Dhoni is so calm and Kohli is the complete opposite. He can be intimidating the dressing room and sometimes his teammates can wonder who Kohli really is,” Jennings said.
“There can be a fear factor in the dressing room and you don’t want that with so many youngsters coming into the side.
“Indian cricket, thus, has to find people who can help and influence Kohli into ways of improving and becoming an even better leader,” Jennings added.
Jennings however feels that Kohli will only get better with age and with more exposure as a captain.
“With age, Kohli will get better and calm down a lot naturally. He will not be so aggressive and in your face all the time. But in certain situations, when things are not so calm or even just to take that fear factor away from the dressing room, who will teach Kohli to become a better version of himself?
“He is smart enough and passionate enough to want to change. He wants to be the best, and he does have skills to be the best player in the world, yet he needs some assistance,” he added.
Jennings was all praise for Kohli as a batsman, prophesying that his peak is yet to come.
“At this age, he already has 33 ODI hundreds and he is in touching distance of the best-ever seen in ODI cricket (Sachin Tendulkar). He has another 10 years left in him, at least, so there’s no reason why in 3-4 years he cannot get better and better.
“I think 32 is the best age for any batsman and he is yet to get there, so you can add a few more hundreds to that 33 mark,” the former RCB coach said.
Ray was the coach of the South African U-19 team when Kohli won it for India in 2008. Jennings was impressed with Kohli then and there and felt that he had something more than all other batsman who had made it to the World Cup.
“I was the coach of South Africa Under-19s when he led India to the Under-19 World Cup win (2008). From that time itself, I thought he was someone who stood out in his age group in terms of batting.” the South African said.
“In all my experience, he is the best player against spin that I have ever seen. Is he better than Sir Don Bradman? I don’t know, but he is definitely amongst the top-two batsmen in the world at the moment.
“People talk about his overseas record, but in the Test series, he outscored Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf Du Plessis in their home conditions,” he concluded.