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Leader to the core

Leader to the core
Highlights

I am not new to captaincy; but there has to be a perfect understanding of the skills that are needed to lead in shorter formats. MS (Dhoni) has been helping a lot on that front.” 

I am not new to captaincy; but there has to be a perfect understanding of the skills that are needed to lead in shorter formats. MS (Dhoni) has been helping a lot on that front.”

It was undoubtedly a befitting salutation to Mahendra Singh Dhoni by his successor Virat Kohli, who in his hour of triple glory exemplified the gentleman’s game in letter and spirit.

Perhaps, that is what makes Kohli a one-of-a-kind leader, one who does not hesitate to acknowledge the contributions of his team members. A heir-apparent changes tacks once he is ensconced on to the throne, and more or less attempts to undo the good rendered by the predecessors.

Right now if things are looking up for India, a lion’s share of the credit should go to the leadership qualities in Kohli. By leading from the front, he has demonstrated that he is a different person altogether once on the field.

A person, who blends the best of Dhoni, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble to an extent, Kohli has led from the front with his own batting exploits that seem to be getting qualitatively better by the innings.

Of course, for one who has taken over the mantle in all forms, it should not surprise anyone if he goes on to script some more memorable moments for Indian cricket.

India has been able to win in all three formats under him essentially because he has been able to learn the tricks of the trade as would any student of the game.

As the ecstatic captain pointed out the series sweep against England was indeed a memorable one and helps to wipe out the humiliation meted out by Alastair Cook’s team a couple of seasons ago.

Players like Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah should be indebted to their skipper because he trusted their abilities as should Yuvraj Singh, who made his way to the top reckoning at the behest of Kohli.

That speaks volumes about the man behind the captain, one who knows what he wants from his boys and those who can deliver the goods at a more consistent rate, which is what makes for a winning combination.

There is already talk that Abhinav Mukund has been brought from the cold because of a word from Kohli. That he shares a wonderful chemistry with coach Kumble adds to the aura of Kohli, who quite easily is the best captain in world cricket today.

However, he should realise that his biggest test is lurking in the corner in the form of a determined Australian squad that is coming for a full-fledged series later this month. Although, the team from Down Under is not as formidable as it was a few seasons back, one cannot dismiss their combative spirit.

Even as India is spoilt for choice, the team selectors would do well if they take a serious note of the warning Kevin Pietersen sounded for the visiting team – Learn to play spin very quick. If you can't play spin, don't even go. The remark is bang on.

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