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Virat Kohli: The Captaincy Breakdown

subshakerz

International Regular
Since you are getting down to individual tests and series, it is worthwhile to look at the test which Imran won in WI. Viv and Marshall, only true ATGs at that time in the team were missing. Ambrose was a greenhorn, and it wasn't until the following season that he went on to become the Ambrose we all know. Greenidge was past it at that stage as well. So it was several steps down the team that you think you are talking about.

Which were the other Imran victories abroad ? Piss poor SL(1), mediocre England(2), mediocre India missing a single world class spinner at home(1). That's it ?
Fair enough. But it's not like Imran was leading a side remotely as good as Kohli's either. You had Imran, Miandad, young Akram, Qadir, and then nothing much. And it's not like Pakistan ever won series in England and India before or drew in the WI. Imran was a trailblazer in that respect.

The same way I think Kohli should get credit for the Australia victory in 2018, even though it was a weakened Aus team but he broke down that barrier.
 

subshakerz

International Regular
I agree! But I only used the number victories/losses as part of my argument because it would be nonsensical for me to label Kohli a good captain and not the greatest because his stats are nearing greatest levels BUT stats with context and we see that he did not win crunch moments, so I repeat, lack of WTC final win and a pretty poor 4th innings where India succumbed without a fight, beaten by NZ in the CWC 2019, an uninspired and meek final in CT 2017, an uninspired team in Asia Cup 2014 and possibly an even worse World T20. Also, India's greatest test victory, imo of the last half a decade or so is down under in 2018 and Kohli wasn't even captain for part of tha tseries, but he deserves certain levels of credit for winning part of the series.

That's a wealth of arguments for Kohli being just a step below the absolute best captains. I guess Indian fans (it's been the same here for years, it's teh same toxicity on other internet forums, i'm sure you've heard of a famous Pakistani forum with lots of Indian trolls on there) only want to hear "ALL TING INDIA NUMBER WAN YAAR".
The basic criteria for determining if a captain is good or not is if the team rises in status during their tenure. Beyond that you look at tactical ability, achievements in terms of series/trophies, whether they can build a team, and then intangible stuff like team culture, inspiration, etc.

Kohli was a good captain, period, because he took India from a mid-tier team to top team. In terms of team-building, he inherited much of his team from Dhoni but did emphasize the five-man attack which is his legacy. He did institute a winning culture of fitness and aggression as well. In terms of achievements, a dominant home record and the Australia 2018 victory he can rightly point to. Though to me, having a fortress at home in something any strong team is expected to do, because you already are a better team and facing weaker opposition in your own home

However, I think what stops him from being a great captain is the following:

- Lack of silverware. Let's be frank, it is hard to divorce LOIs from tests in assessing a captain's legacy, and losing the Champions Trophy and three World Cups meant he has less to point to in his trophy closet

- Kohli helped build the best team in the world, but that team ultimately underperformed to their potential overseas. They lose four away series, SA 2018 and 2022, Eng 2018 and NZ 2020. Now, aside from SA 2018 when they faced a fairly strong side, they entered into the other series as mild to strong favorites. NZ blew them away inexplicably, in England they lost 4 out of 5 tests to not even a strong team, and SA they just lost to an inexperienced side after being 1-nil up. Had they drawn a couple of these series, it wouldnt have reflected as badly on their record.

- I think much of how Kohli will be seen will depend on how his successor does. If, for example, Rohit is able to keep the winning track at home but also score some ICC trophies, he may end up looking better than Kohli
 

cnerd123

likes this
The basic criteria for determining if a captain is good or not is if the team rises in status during their tenure.
99% of that is due to the work done by coaches, selectors, scouts and administrators at all levels in the country. The captain just has to lead the squad prepared and given to him.
 

OverratedSanity

Request Your Custom Title Now!
The basic criteria for determining if a captain is good or not is if the team rises in status during their tenure. Beyond that you look at tactical ability, achievements in terms of series/trophies, whether they can build a team, and then intangible stuff like team culture, inspiration, etc.

Kohli was a good captain, period, because he took India from a mid-tier team to top team. In terms of team-building, he inherited much of his team from Dhoni but did emphasize the five-man attack which is his legacy. He did institute a winning culture of fitness and aggression as well. In terms of achievements, a dominant home record and the Australia 2018 victory he can rightly point to. Though to me, having a fortress at home in something any strong team is expected to do, because you already are a better team and facing weaker opposition in your own home

However, I think what stops him from being a great captain is the following:

- Lack of silverware. Let's be frank, it is hard to divorce LOIs from tests in assessing a captain's legacy, and losing the Champions Trophy and three World Cups meant he has less to point to in his trophy closet

- Kohli helped build the best team in the world, but that team ultimately underperformed to their potential overseas. They lose four away series, SA 2018 and 2022, Eng 2018 and NZ 2020. Now, aside from SA 2018 when they faced a fairly strong side, they entered into the other series as mild to strong favorites. NZ blew them away inexplicably, in England they lost 4 out of 5 tests to not even a strong team, and SA they just lost to an inexperienced side after being 1-nil up. Had they drawn a couple of these series, it wouldnt have reflected as badly on their record.

- I think much of how Kohli will be seen will depend on how his successor does. If, for example, Rohit is able to keep the winning track at home but also score some ICC trophies, he may end up looking better than Kohli
ok
 

karan_fromthestands

State Vice-Captain
Time calls on every captain, no matter how successful, no matter how much of a superstar and no matter how many instagram followers one may have, time remains undefeated. For Virat Kohli it has been 2599 days of captaincy, 7 + years, 68 test matches, that is a lot of time. During that near decade, the Indian team has been surrounded by myth and legend, by hyperbole, courted and despised in equal measure by their captain, so it is about time we break through the hyperbole and take a dive into just how good of a captain Virat Kohli truly was.

First off, let's look at Kohli the batsman in that time period - 68 matches, averaging 54 with 20 centuries and 18 half centuries, with a high score of 254*. These are not just great numbers, these are career high numbers. Kohli batted at his absolute peak as a captain, playing some of the best test innings of the 2010s. Who can forget his back-to-back test hundreds while debuting as captain. Apart from the contribution of Murali Vijay, Kohli was the lone ranger against a Nathan Lyon who was bowling absolute cobras on a dusty Adelaide pitch. It was a sign of things to come. There was the exceptional half century in the first innings of the final test of the 2018 tour of South Africa, just enough to keep India in the game, a match they would go on to win. This was the culmination of a series of centuries and double centuries against England, New Zealand and the West Indies in the years prior. Kohli did not just get big runs but crucial runs (an accusation often labeled against Tendulkar was that he got "soft" runs). There were serious discussions on whether or not Kohli was the greatest ever Indian batsman.

All this, and Kohli also captained India in 145 limited overs games, averaging a whopping 73 in ODIs and striking at almost a 100. Whatever the debate may have been about test cricket, Kohli was certainly being labeled as the greatest ever limited overs batsman, and why not? He had all the batting shots one could dream of. This however, is where the first albatross can be found - not a single ICC tournament trophy under the Kohli reign. During this time, India was consistently regarded as the best limited overs team on the planet, often discussed as the best ever, with a heavyweight batting unit and a smart, ever improving bowling unit, bolstered for the first time ever with a spearheading quick. Yet, time and time again they faltered, first in the Asia Cup, then in the Champion's Trophy with a humiliating and record setting defeat in the final and ultimately in the 50 over Cricket World Cup and the later T20 edition.

There were suggestions that Kohli's aggressive on field persona was not backed up behind the scenes and that if a team got a hold of the game, it was difficult for him and by extension his players to get back in the game. Accusations of arrogance and ineptitude were made often, those same accusations which has been pointed at Dhoni's increasingly defensive ODI captaincy, something which Kohli clearly adopted. At times he looked clueless captaining in crunch tournament games. That never really changed. Of course, wins and losses are never solely down to the captain but he is a barometer of what is happening on the field and Kohli cut an erratic figure, unsure of who he was, prominent macho man or meek, hugging smiling, loser.

The same could be said of Kohli the test captain, yet he was buoyed by winning more often than not, including two wins down under (the second id not have Kohli as captain or player, but he was largely the team he had built) and an almost test win in England. These have often been regarded as the barometer for Indian greatness, and obviously Kohli scores highly here. It is important to note the quality of opposition however, and against a slightly better than current England side, India lost emphatically once before under Kohli, ditto Australia. There is also the New Zealand series to contend with and ultimately the meek succumbing in the WTC final. India was said to have the better team, stands outs who were all time greats yet they lost when it mattered most...again.

The numbers are also intriguing, Kohli has captained in 68 test matches and yet only 16 of those have resulted in away wins...yes, including Asia. Minus the lower ranked test sides of SL and WI, and the wins drop to a measely 7 test matches and one away test win (Australia 2018). This however hsould not discount fortress India, which had been breached by England under Dhoni's watch, had yet to be breached under Kohli's guard. India became, under his astute understanding of the Indian game and pitches, an unstoppable team at home, one of the best ever home sides but there's a reason even the Indian fandom promotes away test victories, because they matter that much more. It is what made Lloyd, Khan and Waugh so special. Kohli it seems is a captain bred for the modern internet age, all numbers but the sunbstance does not always match.

Kohli has been a great batsman, maybe he will again but he was not a great captain. A very good one, top three or five in India's pantheon but not as ground breaking as say, a Ganguly. He falls far short of the standards set by Lloyd, Khan, Jardine, Waugh or Smith. Kohli's own legacy of building a brash, aggressive team has not settled well, when that brashness turns to indignation at every lost opportunity. It's like the Mourinho syndrome, and much like that other stalwart of different game, Kohli was never quite there.
Whether I agree with this or not, it's great that you've taken so much effort to dive into this topic!!:thumbup1:
 

subshakerz

International Regular
99% of that is due to the work done by coaches, selectors, scouts and administrators at all levels in the country. The captain just has to lead the squad prepared and given to him.
Not sure I agree that the captain is that irrelevant. Especially back in the day, captains had much more of a role.
 

TheJediBrah

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
The same way I think Kohli should get credit for the Australia victory in 2018, even though it was a weakened Aus team but he broke down that barrier.
He should get more credit for pissing off in 2020-21 so the team could be better and win without him
 

Xix2565

State Vice-Captain
- Lack of silverware. Let's be frank, it is hard to divorce LOIs from tests in assessing a captain's legacy, and losing the Champions Trophy and three World Cups meant he has less to point to in his trophy closet

- Kohli helped build the best team in the world, but that team ultimately underperformed to their potential overseas. They lose four away series, SA 2018 and 2022, Eng 2018 and NZ 2020. Now, aside from SA 2018 when they faced a fairly strong side, they entered into the other series as mild to strong favorites. NZ blew them away inexplicably, in England they lost 4 out of 5 tests to not even a strong team, and SA they just lost to an inexperienced side after being 1-nil up. Had they drawn a couple of these series, it wouldnt have reflected as badly on their record.

- I think much of how Kohli will be seen will depend on how his successor does. If, for example, Rohit is able to keep the winning track at home but also score some ICC trophies, he may end up looking better than Kohli
A lot of the stuff you do describe as indicators of good captaincy could also be attributed elsewhere, especially in the modern era where there are a lot of people involved in all sorts of jobs necessary to elevate a team from selection, talent development, coaching, etc. Kohli's definitely had his visions on how to make India great but a lot of the groundwork was stuff he had no real control over.

Is any captain now just good and not great just because they didn't win silverware in international competitions involving more than two teams when silverware didn't exist for a long while in any format, let alone all 3?

Is it impossible to acknowledge that Test teams nowadays are, you know, somewhat good and have better bowling lineups than what the past great teams feasted on or bullied? And that Tests nowadays result in a lot more wins/losses compared to draws for various reasons? There's another tangent to this that puzzles me a bit, this idea that teams are somehow weaker/worse nowadays than in the past as if nothing has actually changed other than players are getting worse. Feels a lot more like there's actual parity rather than one team just running rampant because everyone else is poor.

This is definitely a question to ponder, considering that we've had Waugh-Ponting as an example of greatness continuing between captains.
Yeah, him leaving the team down in the dumps was a blessing in a disguise, which tells a lot about his limits as captain.
Not at all? It showed we had depth, and considering a lot of the relevant plans made by the team then to beat Australia weren't really inspired by either Kohli or Rahane it says nothing about captaincy (beyond making sure bowlers execute the plans) and speaks more about how important planning with the backroom staff can be, stuff we never hear about until after things are done.
 

cnerd123

likes this
Not sure I agree that the captain is that irrelevant. Especially back in the day, captains had much more of a role.
Yea definitely back in the day the captains played a large role, I just mean in the modern day environment. Captains aren't discovering raw talent in nets and fast tracking them to the playing XI anymore. There are systems in place for that. Kohli literally just rocked up and lead the team produced by these systems.

There is plenty of anecdotal stuff about captain's influencing batting orders/bowling plans/selections (that Moeen Ali and Alastair Cook argument on BT Sports was illuminating), but we never really know the full extent of this in any given team anyways. Modern day teams are filled with coaches and data analysts, the captain doesn't have as much power as they once did.
 

cricketsavant

U19 12th Man
The basic criteria for determining if a captain is good or not is if the team rises in status during their tenure. Beyond that you look at tactical ability, achievements in terms of series/trophies, whether they can build a team, and then intangible stuff like team culture, inspiration, etc.

Kohli was a good captain, period, because he took India from a mid-tier team to top team. In terms of team-building, he inherited much of his team from Dhoni but did emphasize the five-man attack which is his legacy. He did institute a winning culture of fitness and aggression as well. In terms of achievements, a dominant home record and the Australia 2018 victory he can rightly point to. Though to me, having a fortress at home in something any strong team is expected to do, because you already are a better team and facing weaker opposition in your own home

However, I think what stops him from being a great captain is the following:

- Lack of silverware. Let's be frank, it is hard to divorce LOIs from tests in assessing a captain's legacy, and losing the Champions Trophy and three World Cups meant he has less to point to in his trophy closet

- Kohli helped build the best team in the world, but that team ultimately underperformed to their potential overseas. They lose four away series, SA 2018 and 2022, Eng 2018 and NZ 2020. Now, aside from SA 2018 when they faced a fairly strong side, they entered into the other series as mild to strong favorites. NZ blew them away inexplicably, in England they lost 4 out of 5 tests to not even a strong team, and SA they just lost to an inexperienced side after being 1-nil up. Had they drawn a couple of these series, it wouldnt have reflected as badly on their record.

- I think much of how Kohli will be seen will depend on how his successor does. If, for example, Rohit is able to keep the winning track at home but also score some ICC trophies, he may end up looking better than Kohli
We...yeah...it's basically what I have said. Expect the Indian bots to come after you :laugh:

Back on topic, Kohli was a good captain, across formats in particular but not a great one. That's the summary of it all.

The bigger issue is, how do India move on and move up?
 

cricketsavant

U19 12th Man
Yea definitely back in the day the captains played a large role, I just mean in the modern day environment. Captains aren't discovering raw talent in nets and fast tracking them to the playing XI anymore. There are systems in place for that. Kohli literally just rocked up and lead the team produced by these systems.

There is plenty of anecdotal stuff about captain's influencing batting orders/bowling plans/selections (that Moeen Ali and Alastair Cook argument on BT Sports was illuminating), but we never really know the full extent of this in any given team anyways. Modern day teams are filled with coaches and data analysts, the captain doesn't have as much power as they once did.
Not true, Kohli would set the on field tactics which is the key aspect of what happens during the game. He would rotate bowlers, decide batting sequence, the toss and also he was very influential by all accounts on team and squad selection.

Not quite sure who told you he did nothing but walk out onto the field.
 

Daemon

Request Your Custom Title Now!
The basic criteria for determining if a captain is good or not is if the team rises in status during their tenure. Beyond that you look at tactical ability, achievements in terms of series/trophies, whether they can build a team, and then intangible stuff like team culture, inspiration, etc.

Kohli was a good captain, period, because he took India from a mid-tier team to top team. In terms of team-building, he inherited much of his team from Dhoni but did emphasize the five-man attack which is his legacy. He did institute a winning culture of fitness and aggression as well. In terms of achievements, a dominant home record and the Australia 2018 victory he can rightly point to. Though to me, having a fortress at home in something any strong team is expected to do, because you already are a better team and facing weaker opposition in your own home

However, I think what stops him from being a great captain is the following:

- Lack of silverware. Let's be frank, it is hard to divorce LOIs from tests in assessing a captain's legacy, and losing the Champions Trophy and three World Cups meant he has less to point to in his trophy closet

- Kohli helped build the best team in the world, but that team ultimately underperformed to their potential overseas. They lose four away series, SA 2018 and 2022, Eng 2018 and NZ 2020. Now, aside from SA 2018 when they faced a fairly strong side, they entered into the other series as mild to strong favorites. NZ blew them away inexplicably, in England they lost 4 out of 5 tests to not even a strong team, and SA they just lost to an inexperienced side after being 1-nil up. Had they drawn a couple of these series, it wouldnt have reflected as badly on their record.

- I think much of how Kohli will be seen will depend on how his successor does. If, for example, Rohit is able to keep the winning track at home but also score some ICC trophies, he may end up looking better than Kohli
I actually agree with most of this except the bolded. We did not enter any of these series as favourites other than the latest one in SA.
 

Xix2565

State Vice-Captain
Not true, Kohli would set the on field tactics which is the key aspect of what happens during the game. He would rotate bowlers, decide batting sequence, the toss and also he was very influential by all accounts on team and squad selection.

Not quite sure who told you he did nothing but walk out onto the field.
This is still ignoring the rest of the backroom staff's influence. Would be real nice if you could one day acknowledge that.
 

cricketsavant

U19 12th Man
I actually agree with most of this except the bolded. We did not enter any of these series as favourites other than the latest one in SA.
This is untrue, now when I and I am guessing shakeit say favourites, it means in cricketing terms and not betting odds (I never check the latter). Now, the term he uses is "mild to strong favourites". I certainly remember all the cricket punditry in Eng 2018 ranking India as one of the greatest touring sides to come to England, ranked as the best in the world and certainly mild favourites to win some tests and maybe the series.
 

cricketsavant

U19 12th Man
This is still ignoring the rest of the backroom staff's influence. Would be real nice if you could one day acknowledge that.
Well duh Sherlock! Obviously the backroom staff have a part to play...do you think CEOs, run an entire company just by themselves? Yet when a company is not doing well, it is the CEOs turn to get the blame or turn things around because he is the leader...a cricket captain is the leader. The others march to his drum beat.

Kohli actually did very good work in putting together a very competent test pace bowling unit and a very good ODI pace bowling unit. That does not mean the backroom staff weren't involved in fitness, recuperation, coaching etc. But Kohli led the way in taking India down this direction. I hope this example helps you understand kid.
 

Xix2565

State Vice-Captain
Well duh Sherlock! Obviously the backroom staff have a part to play...do you think CEOs, run an entire company just by themselves? Yet when a company is not doing well, it is the CEOs turn to get the blame or turn things around because he is the leader...a cricket captain is the leader. The others march to his drum beat.

Kohli actually did very good work in putting together a very competent test pace bowling unit and a very good ODI pace bowling unit. That does not mean the backroom staff weren't involved in fitness, recuperation, coaching etc. But Kohli led the way in taking India down this direction. I hope this example helps you understand kid.
No, you're still dancing around it and placing Kohli at the centre of such things when it's more likely stuff already planned before games as a group.

And the rest of your writeup stinks of this nonsense as well, to paint a pretty little picture you made up.
 

cnerd123

likes this
Well duh Sherlock! Obviously the backroom staff have a part to play...do you think CEOs, run an entire company just by themselves? Yet when a company is not doing well, it is the CEOs turn to get the blame or turn things around because he is the leader...a cricket captain is the leader. The others march to his drum beat.

Kohli actually did very good work in putting together a very competent test pace bowling unit and a very good ODI pace bowling unit. That does not mean the backroom staff weren't involved in fitness, recuperation, coaching etc. But Kohli led the way in taking India down this direction. I hope this example helps you understand kid.
You realise the BCCI has an actual CEO right?

And not this nonsense about Kohli putting together a pace attack again ffs. Such dumb bull****.
 

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