Indian captain Virat Kohli has been making news for most of the wrong reasons in recent times. First, he announced that he would step down from T20 captaincy after the World Cup, amid reports that players were not too happy with his leadership. A few days later, stories started doing the rounds that Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane had complained to the BCCI over Kohli’s leadership. While the Indian board has obviously dismissed the claims, terming all of them rubbish, we look at five reasons why Kohli’s captaincy style may have impacted players and not in the right way.
- His intimidating over-aggression
That Kohli is over-aggressive would be an understatement. He celebrates every wicket as if there will be no tomorrow. While every cricketer has his own way of keeping himself and the team upbeat, Kohli’s tactics could be intimidating to the other players in the team. He is openly expressive of his disappointment towards the others in the team, be it a dropped catch or a poor delivery. Over a period of time, this could have affected the players.
2. Open criticism of players
According to a media report, Pujara and Rahane dialled BCCI Jay Shah after Kohli was openly critical of the two over their lack of intent in the WTC final. At the post-match presser, Kohli said in an apparent reference to the two, “The mindset has to be to score runs and find ways to score runs. You can’t be too worried about getting out because you are [then] bringing the bowler into the game completely.” While BCCI has again trashed all the reports, the senior players might have been affected by the open bashing. Rahane, in particular, lacked confidence in the remaining games.
3. His inability to inspire by performance
It is one thing asking the players to perform and another thing showing the way. Till a couple of years back, Kohli was definitely leading the way, scoring runs all over the world and in the toughest of circumstances. But since November 2019, Kohli has not scored an international hundred. That’s not all, over the last year or so he has been averaging in the 20s in Test cricket. In simple terms, he hasn’t been leading from the front. As such, it would have been difficult for players to get inspired by him when, being the leader, he had been underperforming for such a long period of time.
4. His unpredictable team selection
Although India were 2-1 ahead in the four-match Test series in England, Kohli’s team selection was nonetheless baffling. His move to play two spinners in Southampton on a seaming surface backfired miserably. And then, in the Test series against England, Ravichandran Ashwin cut a sorry figure when he was seen sitting alone in the stands, watching his teammates play from the sidelines. No team would have treated their number one bowler the way Kohli did with Ashwin with England. And this has happened in the past as well. He may have got the results in England but that still doesn’t completely justify the team selection.
5. His confused mindset
This is something that might have put off a lot of players. Kohli has made some strange statements at pre-match conferences in recent times. Before the WTC final, he proclaimed that one Test wouldn’t change how they view themselves as a team. However, immediately after losing, he admitted that a best-of-three final would have been better for them to prove themselves. During the Test series against England, he kept getting out in the same manner, innings after innings, despite being well aware of the trap that was set for him. It was a clear indication of his muddled mindset. Had it not been Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, Kohli’s mistakes could have cost India dearly. The players would have been aware of the same.