Virat Kohli will be India’s best-ever captain if he keeps learning: Sunil Gavaskar

first_img4th Test, Day 4: (Full scorecard)Brief Scores:India 622 for 7 declared (Pujara 193, Pant 159 not out, Jadeja 81, Lyon 4 for 178)Australia 236 for 6 (Harris 79, Handscomb 28 not out, Cummins 25 not out, Kuldeep 3 for 71)Rain washes out first session.Australia trail India by 386 runsSunil Gavaskar was impressed with the growth Virat Kohli has shown as the captain of Team India over the last year and believes that he will be the best-ever captain Indian cricket has had in terms of results if he continues in the same vein.Kohli’s captaincy has been under scanner ever since India began touring overseas under him for Test series early last year.Kohli’s aggression, his team selections and on-field decisions have been a constant point of debate but what he has shown in Australia, he has managed to impress one of his critics in Gavaskar.”As a captain I still have my little concerns but I think now what has happened, he [Virat Kohli] is a fast learner, and we have seen that in this series. If we keeps learning, he is going to be the best-ever [captain] that India has had, in terms of results and in terms of getting the players to perform at the highest level,” Gavaskar told Sony Sports on Sunday.Kohli’s captaincy was particularly praised by Michael Clarke on Saturday due to the way he set up Marnus Labuschagne’s wicket. His field change for that very Mohammed Shami delivery got them the wicket when vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane took a sharp catch.It’s actually quite refreshing to not see him the leading run-scorer and still getting India in positions to win games of cricket- Michael ClarkeKohli has also impressed one and all with the way he has rotated his bowlers and the attacking intent he has shown in his field placements throughout.advertisementClarke firmly believes that Kohli has out-captained Tim Paine in this series and felt his captaincy has been the “shining light” in this series rather than his batting that usually dominated the headlines.”At the moment India has won the battle on the field in regards to the two teams and Virat Kohli has won that captaincy battle against Tim Paine. I think this has been a really good series for him tactically. Individually I think he hasn’t scored as many runs as he would like. I mean he has got one hundred in this series, which in my opinion was probably the best hundred he has scored in his career so far, and he has batted beautifully.”But it’s actually quite refreshing to not see him the leading run-scorer and still getting India in positions to win games of cricket. Everyone knows how good a batsman he is, this Test series I think he has been the shining light in regards to his captaincy rather than batting which is I think a good change for Virat Kohli and it shows how he continues to grow,” Clarke told Sony Sports.Clarke felt a captain is judged by how he gets the best out of his players. For Kohli, he felt that losses have taught him a lot and the fact that he remembers those losses, it pumps him up to win and do better.”It’s wins and losses that go against your record as captain so you judge partially on that but I think what you’re judged on is getting the best out of your players. That’s why it’s hard to compare, I think you need to see the team a captain has. Right now Australia is not good enough to be the No.1 team in the world and so, you can’t expect Tim Paine to get Australia to that but I think you can expect Australia to perform better than No.6 in the world. Virat Kohli and this Indian team might think they are good enough to be the No.1 team in the world and they’ve got higher expectations. So that’s Virat’s challenge – to be winning majority of the games.”Sometimes, the tough times and the losses, I have no doubt that Virat remembers the losses he has had in Australia and that’s why he seems so excited and so pumped up and making sure when he has got his foot on Australia’s throat, he is not letting them off. The way they kept batting in this innings – ‘let’s make 600, not 400 nah, I have been in the field, I have watched Australia make 500-600 so I have gone through that pain. Now it’s our chance, now we are on top so let’s make the most of that,” Clarke said.advertisementKOHLI’S STRENGTH AS A CAPTAIN Sunil Gavaskar said Virat Kohli is the undoubted leader of Team India. (AP Photo)Gavaskar opined that Kohli’s strength as a captain is that he is the outright leader of the team and one that leads from the front.”The fact that he’s the leader of this team [Virat Kohli’s strength as a captain] and there are no two ways about that. Tactically like Michael Clarke said, he has got the better of Tim Paine but Paine has got a team in transition may be with the banned duo of Smith and Warner not there.”Having said that I feel some of the tactical moves Virat has made has been faultless in this series, not so much in South Africa, not so much in England. But over here certainly I think he has led from the front and he has shown everybody not just his team but the opposition, who’s the boss,” Gavaskar said.Australian great Steve Waugh felt that Kohli has players who want to play for him and that shows that he is a very strong leader.”He [Kohli] likes the big occasions like Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Vivian Richards and Javed Miandad, all the great batsmen. They all want the big occasion and that brings out the best of their cricket.”He leads the way with the players following, they want to battle for him and they want to play for him as a captain. That’s a big thing to have as a captain – the guys are playing for you and playing for the country. So, he is a really strong leader,” Waugh said in a video shown by the broadcasters.KOHLI’S AGGRESSION Michael Clarke said Virat Kohli has been an aggressive cricketer since his U-19 days. (Reuters Photo)Gavaskar spoke about Kohli’s aggression and said “to each his own”. He felt Kohli does it because it works for him but if it doesn’t work for the others, it’s not necessary to follow the captain exactly.”Well if you look at the team, nobody actually does that [aggressive moves], he is probably the only one. May be the bowlers when they get a wicket, they show a little more emotion but not too many.”When they won in Melbourne, everyone was excited because at that stage, it was clear they couldn’t lose the series, they have a very good chance of winning the series because of what had happened in South Africa and England, when they had lost the series, by winning at Melbourne it was certain they couldn’t lose the series and there was a little bit of excitement there but to each his own.”Whatever works for every individual to pump himself up. He likes to pump himself up with that show of aggression, may be for others it doesn’t. It doesn’t have to be that everybody in the team is following what the captain is doing in terms of showing that emotion, you work according to what works for you. By no stretch of imagination it means you’re less passionate if you’re not emotional. I mean you can have a look at the Tendulkar, Dravids and Dhonis, I mean if anybody tells me they were not competitive – they were not demonstrative but oh God, they were very competitive.”advertisementClarke, on the other hand, said that Kohli has always been like that and aggression is a”A lot of people don’t like his aggression and his style but Virat’s been like that from day 1. I mean you look at Virat playing U-19 cricket for India, he was exactly the same. So he hasn’t changed, he hasn’t just become captain and said like ‘okay I’m going to be this aggressive intent cricketer’. He has been that from day 1, he has backed that. You see that when he bats, when he fields, when he gets a wicket, when somebody else scores a hundred. He is in the front in the change room, standing, applauding and pumping his fists. So, that’s his style and it’s working.”Also Read | Virat Kohli is still a work in progress as captain: VVS Laxman to India TodayAlso Read | Virat Kohli’s special gesture for Pink Test wins Glenn McGrath’s heartlast_img read more