Can Virat handle all the responsibilities in the long run, asks Kapil Dev
There have been many captains who have led India in the history of the game. But very few have managed to get into the record books for their leadership skill. One of the pioneers in this league of extraordinary Indian captains in Kapil Dev. It was under his captaincy that India lifted their first ever World Cup in 1983.
Recently, in a conversation with The Telegraph, Kapil Dev spoke at length about some of India’s greatest captains over the years. He started off by explaining his notion of captaincy. He mentioned that a captain is someone who must take the ownership of defeats and put his team first in moments of glory.
“To talk of cricket, I’d say a captain who takes ownership of defeats and puts the team, not himself, right in front when the times are good… Often, captains tend to blame either their batsmen or their bowlers. So, I wouldn’t say that all captains necessarily are leaders,” he quoted.
Talking about India’s captain of last decade, Sourav Ganguly, Kapil remarked that Sourav was lucky to be bestowed with a brilliant team during his captaincy. “Sourav had a great team, maybe even the best, so it was easier for him to get results… Just go back to the line-up under Sourav,” said Kapil Dev.
The former skipper then spoke briefly about MS Dhoni. Dhoni led India in a record 331 international matches before eventually stepping down as captain recently. Kapil congratulated Dhoni for his wonderful captaincy that lasted a decade. He further mentioned that it is not easy to leave captaincy, but Dhoni did it twice. He cited that Dhoni has every major trophy under his cabinet. All those speak for Dhoni’s captaincy.
“Firstly, let me congratulate Dhoni for his 10 years as the India captain in one or two or even all three formats… To captain for 10 years has to be remarkable. Dhoni quit as the ODI and T20I captain when the next one (Virat Kohli) was ready. Dhoni, in fact, left the Test captaincy in December 2014 when he could have played for another 20 Tests, if not more… Who leaves the captaincy? Dhoni did, twice,” he quoted.
“Look at the results under Dhoni… World T20, World Cup, Champions Trophy, No.1 in the Test rankings… It’s easy to criticise after an event, talk with the benefit of hindsight, but Dhoni did his best. It’s not for me to say whether some of his decisions were right or wrong… Look, if one wants to find fault, then a hundred things could get pinpointed,” the former cricketer added further.
Dhoni passed on the captaincy baton ot Virat Kohli. Commenting on India’s star batsman, Kapil Dev was concerned about the longevity of Kohli. He believes that captaincy reduces the career span of a player. Hence, he questioned how long can Kohli stay at the helm. He adviced Kohli to stay calm as calm mindset helps make better decisions.
“Virat is turning out to be the best batsman in the world, but can he handle all the responsibilities in the long run? At times, captaincy can shorten one’s career… Do we want to see Virat for the next 10 or the next 12-15 years? Maybe, that question needs to be asked,” he said.
“Stay calm, for it’s only in that frame of mind that the best decisions are made. Virat has, of course, mellowed down,” Kapil adviced Kohli.