Captain Virat Kohli : A Project That Never Existed


Lets look back a bit.

When MS Dhoni announced to give up his Captaincy in 2017, he almost set up everything for Virat Kohli. A team that was ruling ODI cricket, the strongest bunch of players and a perfect period to make his own team till next World Cup.

Kohli had two ODI home series for initial adjustment, then an ICC trophy (Champions Trophy 2017) at the same venue of next World Cup and then 2 years to build his own team.

He started good. Or rather he didn’t have to do anything to have a good start. Sourav got the team in a dark period, MSD got the team after Greg Chappell disaster. They had to fix things. Kohli got a finished product.

Still the blunder in his Captaincy shown in first big tournament when he decided to bowl first in final, which tremendously backfired. India lost a major trophy to a below standard team which was supposed to be a cakewalk and it was actually, till final.

That was easiest ICC competition ever for us to win. And we gifted it.

What followed was nothing but blunders and repeated mistakes.

India appointed a coach who is good for nothing but because yes-man of the Captain. Removing whom? One of finest gentleman in country’s cricket history.

Imagine if someone have problem with characters like Anil Kumble or Rahul Dravid! How wrong that person can be!

What next? It’s been two years but India is yet to win a game based on his Captaincy and nothing else.

Remember the Champions Trophy 2002 semifinal when Ganguly asked Sehwag to bowl vs SA and he won us the game? When Dhoni dared to give over to Ishant in Champions Trophy 2013 final and two back to back wickets changed everything? Where is one such moment of brilliant captaincy?

Again, Virat got a team so strong that after having thousands of flaws in his Captaincy, the team got results and all were overlooked.

Bhuvi was in form of his life when repeated droppings, in the name of rests/rotation, cost his form. He was continuously rotating his bowlers in every series, even within the series when it was not required at all.

Dinesh Karthik was producing his best ever cricket when he was not picked up at all and then called up in WC squad directly.

Rayudu was playing for 2 years at no.4, groomed overseas and then suddenly omitted from the WC squad - so much so that he was not picked even when 2 players got out injured.

He suddenly decided to give Vijay Shankar the no.4 spot - a player who is miles away from proving himself. Then Mayank was called, nobody knows why?

And why don’t we blame him for all these??

We know a certain gentleman named Anil Kumble once spoke against him, tried to rectify his mistakes and what happened!

Virat decided to take a bunch of fancy cricketers than responsible ones. He preferred Hardik, Risabh, Rahul who are brilliant in terms of cricketing abilities but never won us a given on their shoulders. Did they?

All our lives we have seen Sourav & Dhoni to have a fixed team and changed only when it was required.

Virat walked completely different way. Australia away, NZ away, Australia home - the series which were supposed to final tests before WC, Kohli kept on rotating squad. The rate of experiment was so much that India lost home series 2-3 to weakest ever Australian side after leading 2-0. It looked like all eyes are on WC, so it’s fine to lose the series.

This ain’t international football for god sake and these weren’t FIFA friendly.

One example here is, in Australia home series, Dhoni was rested after 3 games and Pant was given chance for next 2 but we selected Karthik in WC squad and not Pant. Also the inability in Virat’s Captaincy was shown in those 2 ODIs when Dhoni was rested (for no reason).

If anything Jadeja’s all round performance has proved yesterday, that’s how wrong Virat was in terms of picking his all rounders. He made Jadeja sit & Vijay play who scored hardly 15 runs and cannot be asked to bowl when others have flopped.

We had eight group games, two practice matches before semi and Kohli still could not find a set team.

India’s middle order was not weak. It never existed. There was continuous rotation in batting order, nobody knew where and when he would come in.

He picked Dinesh Karthik after trying with everyone but didn’t send him at no.3 vs Sri Lanka to have some batting when we were easing pass to victory.

What happened next was Karthik coming to crease at 5/3 in WC semi who has played only 7 balls in that World Cup. I would still say he tried his best to play out Boult’s initial overs and just when started to accelerate, a brilliant catch sent him home. I see only Virat’s fault here and not Karthik’s.

If Dhoni was there instead of Pant at 4 and India needed 90 in last 10 with at least either of Pant or Hardik to bat along with Jaddu, it would have been an easier chase.

I have seen India bulldozed by NZ 2-5 in 2003 ODI series and Sourav still stuck with that squad to knock NZ out of WC a month later.

And here is Kohli, who rotated a squad that defeated NZ at their own backyard and lost in WC semis to them only, which is again looked easiest WC campaign ever.

But Virat won’t step down and the board won’t ask to. What can you expect when they can sack someone like Kumble for the Captain - A captain who was, rather is, yet to prove his brilliance?

There was one and only MS Dhoni who was given the worst, the hardest, the toughest job for this team during the period whenever required and that man, without caring about anything, tried to do it and was bashed whenever failed.

MS Dhoni, you have lived enough only to become a villain. Now retire.

And let the world see and Virat understand that if aggression only can lead a team then Yuvraj Singh would have been the best Captain ever.


Hey rajashree. Generally, I always agree with you. But this time unfortunately I don’t think agree with this. When MS Dhoni step down from captaincy he did not give a set team to Virat Kohli. I mean when MS dhoni stepped down do you know what our batting order was? 2017 champions trophy. We have captains quota players in ashwin and Jadeja. Yuvraj was still there, Manish pandey was hanging around. Bumrah wasn’t the player that he is today and kedar Jadhav along with dinesh kartik completed the batting. Openers were the same along with Dhoni and Kohli. Hardik earned a name for him in champions trophy. Now what Kohli did was first he got rid of captain’s quota players in jadeja and ashwin and brought in chahal and kuldeep. Results were awesome if he just leave out a few matches of World Cup. Jadhav has been a failed experiment but he was also a captain’s quota. Dhoni isn’t the same batsman he once was but everybody in their senses knows that he can’t be replaced. Pandya is a genuine number 7 batsman who can only hit a few sixes and is good just for a blazing 40-50 knock. He ain’t a player who will build an innings and in my opinion he did amazing in the World Cup.
Now let’s come to MS Dhoni, I agreed that Dada got the team after a super dark period but hey Greg Chappel period was a dark period only due to the World Cup. And take a look at the team Dhoni got, sachin, sehwag, gambhir, zaheer, Yuvraj, raina, harbhajan, he himself in his prime, a bunch of match winner. Also atleast half a dozen players in Dhoni’s team were Dada’s players. Dhoni didn’t give a champion team. Dhoni just gave 2 players maybe kohli and Rohit both of whom we already know were super talented.
Now coming on the decisions that kohli takes. If you see Dhoni’s on field behavior, he definitely stepped down from captaincy but did he really stop leading? You can still see him interfering in team decisions. I have never seen kohli taking the front wheel in a match. Also, we didn’t gift the World Cup away. He just played horrible cricket for 30 mins and that’s it. Also let’s come to ravi Shastri a coach who is good for nothing yet has a world cup winners medal and also was literally the star of 1985 champions series. Just because there have been so many memes on him about his drinking problmes stating that he is useless would be wrong. We don’t know what he does, I am pretty sure he can’t teach dhoni or Kohli how to bat, a coach’s role is generally to keep harmony in the team and have you ever heard of a conflict in the team? If he is good for nothing then what was Duncan fletcher? I don’t think he was good for anything either. Generally coaches in cricket where strategies aren’t changed very much coaches haven’t been very active.
Dada and Dhoni are the two gifts to World Cricket. Undoutebly, but let’s see virat making a team of his own and then leading it. Do you realise Dhoni’s real team is the one which is still playing and the team that won us the 2011 world cup was actually ganguly’s? Also I agreed with Rayudu’s omission as long as Shikhar was playing, his injury changed a lot of things. Also if not Pandya then who? If not pant then who? If not rahul then we didn’t had a backup opener so who? The reason Jadeja wasn’t playing in the team was because India already had Kuldeep and Chahal. It would have been silly to play with 30 overs of spin when you even have Jadhav in your arsenal who unfortunately wasn’t used.
Agreed with the dhoni retirement part, i dont think he should stay anymore. I want to see what kohli does in the next few years with such great young talent in the country.
We have manjot kalra, shubhman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, riyan parag, Abhishek sharma, mavi, nagarkotti and who not. A bunch of super talented players are fighting with a spot. Also if Dhoni goes and someone finally decided to drop kartik, it would be very interesting to see samason, kishan, and pant fighting over the wicketkeeper and with rawat who is currently preparing for u-19 World Cup finally proves himself it would be a 4 way battle for that one spot.
Anyways let us wait and let us give Kohli 2 years to make his team. Drop Dhawan and everyone who you think won’t play the next world cup. Prepare like they prepare for fifa World Cup and with India being the host country I have no doubt that world cup would be ours


Excellent Rajarshi. I wanted someone to pin down all this points and you did it just right. I would like to add a few more things to this. Being the No.1 ODI batsmen when has Virat Kohli proved his mark or existence on a big stage? He’s got every stat as an individual he wanted, but where are the ICC trophies that you’re given captaincy for? Virat Kohli got everything he needed. Pay hikes, a coach of his choice etc etc and yet when it came to winning the World Cup, Virat Kohli could not live up to expectations and to the world Dhoni becomes a villan. Like how? Have you forgotten your abilities to analyze cricket? Or turned into a blind fan? I respect Virat Kohli for his drastic change in his batting style and the records he’s set or will break in the future. But this is not an individual game, give us the result. It’s only his aggression and words that are building and this is not UFC brawl that you blabber only in the pre-match conference and do nothing when you have a chance.
Coming to the team selection, No.4 debate was a national concern and the captain and the board came up with an experimental choice, Vijay Shankar. It’s World Cup and you’re touted as favourites how can a captain be okay with a trail and error method? We all know the period when Dhoni was handed the captaincy and he was very vocal in his team selection. The 2007 T20 world cup, likes of RP Singh, Sreeshant, Gambhir and the only veteran- Sehwag. He knows who is capable of what. This World Cup too, when Rishab Pant was dismissed we saw how Kohli went up to Ravi Shastri and doubted his shot selection. If you atleast can’t encourage don’t walk up and show your anger, coz you did nothing too.
According to me Kohli is the most fortunate captain in Indian cricket over the history, he’s had someone to guide him behind from the stumps, the board which listens to every demand of his and the paparazzi which never raises a question on him. Why? Coz he’s being compared to the GOD of cricket- Sachin Tendulkar. Dada and MSD have been the precious gifts to Indian cricket and Virat Kohli as a captain is far away from reaching close to whatever they have done. The problem is- Kohli doesn’t believe in his players and only believes in his cricketing abilities and when it backfires he doesn’t know what needs to be done.
Personal relationship with him have got careers, take Gambhir for example. Ashwin has never been believed for his abilities and the 2015 champions trophy we know how efficient he was in English soil. Players who are in form being rotated, for what? to experiment? Shami was kept out for the Semis who got us wickets. Dhoni built his own players, he never had anyone who was in their prime form during his initials.


i guess it all comes down to “give me a lucky general over a good one” - Napoleon (wrongly attributed)… time for Rohit to take the captaincy… he has won trophies with India (Asia Cup) and in the IPL… Virat zilch so far…


Maybe he just got plain unlucky. But…

For me two worst handicap for Virat are his love for Dhoni & Shahstri.

Enough has been discussed about Dhoni. But, Shashtri I reckon is the biggest leech of Indian Cricket. Virat prefers him as stooge coach which Shashtri is taking full advantage of. Raking in top pay without any contribution. Virat needs to understand the value of knowledgeable and strong coach. Team of captain and a good coach is needed to work with such a large and influencing group of player.

It’s now time for Dhoni and Shashtri to go. We need to give Kohli a good coach and some time. If he fails to improve in 18-24 months then we change captain and give him till 2023.


For everyone who is saying Virat doesn’t perform at big stages. He’s the proof. He will be a project rediscovered after this loss to New Zealand.



Here the discussion is not about Virat the batsman. We are talking about Virat the captain.


Like the way you have presented a positive outlook to India’s loss in the semi finals and to the shortcomings identified in hindsight. Befriend a critic and he will guide you to victory. I think a coach should play the role of a critic who ultimately ensures that you / team succeeds. The Indian Team needs a coach who is not a sing along buddy but who questions the status quo.

It makes sense to see Virat - the amazing individual performer learn from India’s performance at this World Cup and work on putting together the right mix of the winning team, back up players and a game plan to win the next World Cup, as Virat the Captain…that too on home ground when we host in 2023.


U nailed it Rajashri. Absolutely your analysis is phenomenal. I totally agree with you. I feel Rohit is a better captain than Kohli in the shorter format. Leaving Rayudu from WC squad who played at No.4 for the past 2 years is the biggest blunder. If the fitness is an issue with rayudu, how u accepted Jadav play who has been struggling. I dont understand his team selection and rotation system. If I keep on typing, the mistakes will keep on coming. Hope BCCI will think about this and make Rohit as a captain for shorter format. As far as I know, Rohit absorbs pressure better than Kohli. That we have seen in breath-taking IPL Finals. By Gods grace, I hope he will take the charge and get us the next WC that is going to happen in India