What Does Captain Kohli Bring To The Test Side?

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How Kohli's return galvanizes the Indian Test team?
How Kohli's return galvanizes the Indian Test team?

India went down in the 2nd Test against South Africa in Centurion. South Africa cantered to a 7-wicket win leveling the series 1-1. India looked short of answers, especially in the 2nd innings. Their bowlers lacked discipline, their body language didn’t resemble that of the top-ranked Test nation.

They squandered the advantage to pocket the series in their favour. There were plenty of reasons behind India’s failure in the 2nd Test. But the one reason that stood out quite clear was the absence of their captain. 

The Kohli link in ‘overseas’ success:

India have won the Test mace for consecutive 6 times [2016-21]. Much of the credit for their unprecedented success goes to their captain. Virat Kohli took over the captaincy reign in early 2015. India was languishing at number 7 in the Test rankings. India reached the top spot in just 18 months. 

It was his vision that India need to dominate overseas that separates this Indian team from its predecessors. India have won virtually everywhere in the world bar New Zealand. His unrelenting aptitude for success on foreign shores amps up the team. He has the immense belief that his side can excel across all conditions. It reflects in the way the team has fared over the last 4-5 years.

His personal form in the success conquest:

Virat Kohli hasn’t been in ‘great’ form for the last couple of years. He has not scored a century since the last 26 months. There have been multiple theories about Kohli’s lean patch. Experts suggest that his vulnerability outside off stump has resurfaced. His stubbornness to play on the front foot has cost him. But looking at Kohli one doesn’t get the feeling that he is in a form slump. He has his sights on something big.

What drives Kohli the team man and the captain?

Kohli has often reiterated the fact that he loves winning games. He is fine with his side getting bowled out for 200 but he needs his bowlers to pick 20 wickets. It’s this attitude of winning at all costs that helps him place his team’s need ahead of his personal interests. He was never bothered about personal milestones. His stature in world cricket is such that he ill affords to care about individual success.

What India missed in the 2nd Test sans their captain?

The way South Africa intimidated Indian batsmen it felt as if we were watching a match from a different era. Indians under Kohli are a different beast. They have a different aura when they step onto the cricket field no matter what the conditions. Hence India’s contained response in the 2nd Test felt an aberration. It was mainly to do with Kohli’s absence. They clearly missed their ring-leader who could rally the side. South Africa sensed this and went for the kill.

Will vintage Kohli turn up against the Proteas?

Virat Kohli watched the proceedings silently from the dressing room. He absorbed everything that was happening on-field. Indian fans are already expecting Kohli to give it right back to the Proteas in their own backyard. It will be interesting to see how a motivated Kohli chasing history enters the field against South Africa. He will be pumped to settle scores and lead India to its maiden series win in South Africa.

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