Monday, May 23, 2022 | Shawwal 21, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Leaving with a Legacy

India's captain Virat Kohli speaks after South Africa won the third Test. -- AFP
India's captain Virat Kohli speaks after South Africa won the third Test. -- AFP

Muscat: When Virat Kohli tweeted his resignation from the captaincy of the Indian Test cricket team on Saturday, it shook the cricketing world with its suddenness.


For a period of seven years, the 33-year-old from Delhi had revolutionized, yes he did resoundingly, India's cricketing fortunes in the longest form of the game.


As former India batsman Wasim Jaffer aptly put it.


"When Virat took over as Test captain, India winning a Test overseas was an achievement. Now, if India lose an overseas Test series it is an upset. And that's how far he has taken Indian cricket forward and that will be his legacy. Congratulations on a successful reign."


It truly summed up what Kohli has contributed to Indian cricket since taking up the biggest job in 2014.


Kohli's stupendous record as captain in Test cricket with 40 wins in 68 Tests is the most successful by an Indian captain leaving MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly behind.


Overall, he is fourth in terms of Test victories behind Graeme Smith (53), Ricky Ponting (48) and Steve Waugh (41) and that speaks volumes about the magnitude of the batting great's achievements as captain.


When India began their renaissance as a touring Test team in 2018 with that famous win at the Wanderers in Johanessburg, it was the start of something truly special.



5-BOWLER THEORY, SUPREME FITNESS


The legacy of Virat Kohli will not be completed without the mention of his great emphasis of playing with five specialist bowlers and six specialist batters. The concept truly revolutionized the way India approached Test cricket at home and especially overseas. With such tactical changes, there was a great deal of stress on high levels of fitness as well to take the team to the pinnacle of world cricket.


With these two aspects covered, Indian cricket started to climb new heights and conquer all new peaks en route greatness.


A historic Test series win in Australia in 2018 can be counted as Kohli's highest point as skipper and a Test series win in England in 2021 being the icing on the cake.


Test series victories in Sri Lanka and West Indies also added to his aura with the only blemishes coming in the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand and the now concluded South Africa series, which India were expected to win.


BCCI RUN-INS


Kohli's recent exchanges with the BCCI with regard to his relinquishing of the T20I captaincy prior to the T20 World Cup may have put some added pressure, but the decision would have purely been a cricketing one.


For a player who set such high benchmarks as batsman and captain and who's best batting performances have come post captaincy, Kohli was probably falling short of the targets he set for himself.


The pressures of the pandemic and the natural evolution that fatherhood brings may have played a part as well.


However, one can safely assume that the upcoming years will only see Kohli the batting beast raise the bar the way only he can. And that is an added bonanza as far as Indian cricket and its fans are concerned.


For everything you did for Indian cricket in the last seven years as the main man, a big thank you and your best years as batsman is still ahead, perhaps.


Go well, skip!


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