Windies’ legendary pacer Michael Holding reckons that the Indian skipper Virat Kohli can come across as intimidating but he is still learning and would become patient as he grows on the job of captaincy. Holding also compared Virat with the former Windies skipper Sir Vivian Richards.
As quoted in PTI, Holding said, “At the moment he is a young captain, who is just learning and understanding what it takes to be a captain. He is a bit exuberant and very emotional. Sometimes he gets so emotional that it is intimidating not only for the opposition but for his players as well. When I compare Virat to Vivian Richards, it is not just in the batting but captaincy as well.”
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He further added, “It was similar with Viv. When he took over the captaincy, it was similar. And then he grew in the job. He learned to be a little bit calmer and then his team got calmer as well. And then the results came. I think it should be a similar learning situation with Virat.”
India defeated South Africa in the third Test and the final Test by 63 runs at Wanderers but lost the three-match series as they lost the opening two Tests.
Kohli’s selection decision came under scrutiny in the Test series and Holding too was critical of his chop-and-change policy which saw him play a different XI in each of the 35 Tests. He said, “In the modern game, there is so much cricket that you tend to rotate players especially bowlers and give them a bit of rest. If that is a reason why he is doing it, you can understand that. But it is unhealthy making so many changes.”
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He further elaborated, “When you go back to the great Test teams, they would change now and again, not every Test match, because then even the players are unsettled and they are not sure if they are going to play the next game or not. You need them to think I will go out there and even if I fail, I am good enough and they will give me another chance. It doesn’t happen with rotation constantly, which again is unhealthy.”
One of the selection decision was picking Rohit Sharma over Test specialist Ajinkya Rahane in the first two Tests and Michael Holding said the Indian team management must be more careful about selecting their batsmen especially on overseas tours. He said, “Rahane has to be back in the team even though he hasn’t been making runs. Look at how he played at Wanderers (second innings). His record overseas is too good. You have got to think of batsmen, when you see them play, what they will do on different surfaces.”
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Kohli finished the series after scoring 283 runs and he was the highest run-getter as well and Holding was all praise for the Indian skipper. He said, “He is a top-class batsman. He is way above the rest of Indian batsmen in this team. When I think of the past Indian batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar was the best batsman in his team. But he wasn’t that far ahead of people like Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman. He was better than them but not miles ahead.”
Michael concluded by praising Virat further, he said, “Virat is miles ahead of everybody on this Indian team but I don’t think it influences his captaincy. And as soon as Virat gets some runs in England, I am happy to put the label great beside his name. At the moment I am just waiting.”