The man and his mission

The man and his mission

This is the story of two cricket captains; One very good at his job and the other who failed.

The successful captain was India’s Virat Kohli. When Kohli took over after the successful reign of MS Dhoni, there was one big concern; “Will his immense enthusiasm tarnish his decision as a leader?”

Kohli was the exception as captain; He did not curb his enthusiasm but still he was able to take the Indian team to a higher level. With able assistance from vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, Kohli led India to overseas success like no other Indian captain.

His two individual major overseas successes were Australia in 2018-19 and England in 2021. At home he was almost unbeatable and lost to both Australia and England in just 31 Tests.

Disappointing SA Series defeat

Kohli carried on the legacy of Sourav Ganguly and Dhoni and followed it up to a great extent in seven years. His biggest disappointment as captain was his last two defeats against South Africa, leading the series to a zero.

One of Kohli’s great achievements was the craving for Test cricket in his team. Despite his massive success, Kohli’s prime objective was to win the Test arena and this is where his passion really shone.

There is no doubt that Kohli gave a tough fight to his men, but it is also clear that he enjoyed the competition and wanted success. Kohli has many personal achievements in the midst of his resume but none is bigger than Rishabh Pant both as a wicketkeeper and as a batsman.

Kohli had his way when it came to selection and some decisions were a bit questionable, but there is no doubt that his backing of Pant was a master-stroke.

Performance is another indicator of a captain’s ranking and Kohli averages 54 in Tests. Kohli should also be commended for resigning at the time of his choice.

Former great Australian all-rounder Keith Miller sums up retirement the best when he explains; “I wanted to finish while people were asking why didn’t you?”

Kohli got it right even though he didn’t go all out to achieve his ultimate ambition.

The failure of captaincy, despite leading his country more often than any other Englishman, is Joe Root.

It doesn’t matter what Root or any other English devotee tells you, who is a good batsman but a poor captain. Root was never going to be a successful leader.

Despite having a reasonably presentable record at home, Root lacked imagination as a captain, quickly ran out of ideas and felt a little ‘gut’ to the game. The bowlers he often picked to start the season were head-scratchers, but the real killer was his strategy; They often make no sense.

Root failed as captain

There is a distinct feeling that Root listened to a number of off-field consultants. However, a good captain has to take charge and this was one area where Root failed disappointingly. There is no doubt that Root’s previous tour was badly affected by the player’s injuries and that fate had treated him poorly; Had it not been for Joe’s misfortune, he would not have been lucky in Australia.

Yet 10 Tests for eight losses and two ineffective draws largely overshadowed Root’s leadership in Australia. It was bad captaincy as well as bad luck.

To suggest that the answer to the leadership vacuum is Stuart Broad’s lack of understanding of cricket captaincy. Beyond Broad’s Advanced [cricket] Age and obvious off-field reactions are a negative influence – especially with field placings – and would be a poor choice as captain.

in press conference

Root continued: “We are going to learn from our mistakes and draw the positivity out of this match.”

This begs the question; “When are you going to learn?”

England kept making the same mistakes under Root and rarely learned. Although it will be a difficult task, but if England is to improve, it will first have to find a new and capable captain.



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