Virat Kohli Will Enjoy Test Captaincy in Australia, Believes Rahul Dravid
An injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been rested for the first Test against Australia. While it may be unfair to judge Virat Kohli as 'new' captain after just one match, former India cricketer Rahul Dravid feels it will be a great opportunity for him to prove his credentials as a Test skipper.
Virat Kohli has been named the stand-in skipper for the first Test against Australia in Brisbane from December 4 after regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ruled out due to an injury. Former India skipper Rahul Dravid feels it will be a great opportunity for Kohli to prove his credentials as a Test skipper.
"Dhoni's absence gives Virat the opportunity to show that he can lead differently," Dravid told ESPNcricinfo. "I still think it's going to be Dhoni's side, he has been announced captain. It's just a nice opportunity for Virat and a great feeling, every time you get the opportunity to lead your country in a Test match, it's a great thrill and Virat will really enjoy that," Dravid added.
Kohli may have had a poor record on the tour to England earlier in the year. He managed only 134 runs in 10 innings over five Test matches. But the 26-year-old has bounced back well scoring a century and two fifties in the last six ODIs - played at home against West Indies and Sri Lanka. (Read: In Dhoni's Absence, Saha and Ojha Vie for Keeping Slot)
Kohli is seen by many as an obvious choice to take over the top job after Dhoni. He has proved his worth in the shorter format but it's the first time that Kohli will captain India in whites.
Dravid said while the Delhi lad is an obvious choice to replace Dhoni, a lot will depend on his batting. Kohli has scored a Test hundred in Australia - in Adelaide in 2012.
"I think he's (Kohli) got a good cricket brain. From what we've seen a little bit in the IPL and one-day cricket, he's willing to make things happen. He's spent quite a bit of time learning from Dhoni. He's been in the side for a while now. If he can bat well in Test matches and have that certainty about himself as a player, then I have no doubt that he's the obvious candidate to take over from Dhoni once he's finished," Dravid said.
Another former captain Sunil Gavaskar on Monday said that Kohli should not be rushed into captaincy as long as Dhoni was willing to continue.
"We should not be in such a rush to promote Kohli as captain. As long as Dhoni wants to do the job, let him do it. Let us not put any pressure on either Virat or Mahi by suggesting such things (that this is Kohli's test as captain)," Gavaskar told NDTV on Monday.
Both Gavaskar and Dravid feel it will be unfair to judge Kohli's captaincy skills after just one match.
"This is an opportunity for Virat but you don't want to judge anyone after just one match. Virat will have his time but till then, every match he plays as vice-captain will be of great importance to him. As deputy, you also have to think of field placements, bowling changes and tactics and everything he learns in this phase will be handy," Gavaskar said.
Dravid also believes that the added responsibility of leading a Test team can be a blessing in disguise for 'batsman' Kohli.
"Maybe it will take his mind away from thinking about his own batting, he will have other stuff to think about and it's only for one match," he said. "Rather than be consumed by his own thoughts and scoring runs he will have to think about other things which sometimes can be a pretty good thing. Hopefully, he's learnt his lessons. Having said that Virat has scored a hundred in Australia as well so he's the most experienced of that young middle order."
India will play two two-day warm-ups on November 24-25 and November 28-29 ahead of the four match Test series, starting December 4.