India’s campaign at the ICC T20 World Cup will mark Virat Kohli’s swansong as captain in the T20 format. Ahead of the event, he had announced that he would be relinquishing the leadership in the shortest version of the game to focus on his batting and leadership in Tests and ODIs. Heading into the T20 World Cup, Kohli has led India in 45 T20Is, out of which the team has won 27 matches and lost 14. As a batter, he is the leading T20I run-getter. There were various conspiracy theories surrounding his exit as a T20I skipper. However, in the T20 World Cup, Kohli must get all the support he deserves from fellow players and fans. Here are five reasons why.
He deserves an ICC trophy as captain
Although India have failed to win an ICC trophy under Kohli’s captaincy, it is not as if the team has faltered badly under his leadership. On every occasion, they have made it to the knockouts before failing at the final hurdle. It began with the 2017 Champions Trophy final against Pakistan. The trend continued at the 2019 World Cup, where they went down in the semis and again at the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand, where India choked. Kohli’s consistency as batter and captain deserves an ICC trophy.
Team owes it to him
It is often pointed out that Kohli has an abysmal record in ICC knockout matches. While the observation is very much true for the 50-over format, the same doesn’t hold any ground when it comes to the 20-over version. Kohli played a brilliant knock in the 2014 T20 World Cup final against Sri Lanka but Yuvraj Singh’s 21-ball 11 undid the great work. Then, in 2016, the semi-final against West Indies, he clobbered another wonderful half-century. This time, the bowlers could not defend a big total against a rampant Windies. The Indian team owes it to him for letting him down in the previous two T20 World Cups, even though most of the players are not the ones who featured in the earlier editions.
Time for others to carry him
Unlike the last two T20 World Cups, Kohli will not be at his prime this time. He is past his peak and is expected to struggle to score at a quick pace. He will try no doubt but it might not come off as frequently as it did it a few years ago. Often in the past, Kohli has carried the team on his shoulders and has taken them to victory through single-handed performances. He did this without ever complaining and for a fair number of years. It is now the responsibility of the younger generation of batters to carry him and ensure his limitations are exploited to the least.
His captaincy can be questioned not commitment
Ever since he resigned from the T20 captaincy, there have been numerous murmurs about everything not being right in the Indian camp and some players being unhappy over his alleged authoritarian rule. How much truth there is to these claims only time will tell. However, even the biggest Kohli hater will agree that while his captaincy moves can be questioned, his commitment cannot. He has given his everything and an ICC trophy would be a fair gift in return.
This team has what it takes to be champions
Keeping emotions aside, the Indian team taking part in the T20 World Cup is a fantastic one. KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma are two of the biggest match-winners in the T20 format. Also, newcomers like Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav are exceptional talents. In Rishabh Pant, they have an outright match-winner with the bat while Jasprit Burmah is undoubtedly the best T20 bowler on the planet right now. Theoretically, all these factors should be enough for India to win the World Cup. The big question is – can Kohli’s men translate potential to performance?