Virat "The Captain" Kohli

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There is little to be gleaned from comparing erstwhile Captains such as MAK Pataudi, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar to the two present Indian Captains, M S Dhoni and Virat Kohli. In an era when India was considered nothing more than a pushover, Pataudi, Kapil and Gavaskar undertook the great endeavour of building teams that were formidable and took India to great heights whereas Kohli and Dhoni have had the luxury of leading India at a time when it is one of the most powerful sides in the world. In their own unique, and sometimes obstinate ways, the former etched and even sculpted the course of the Indian cricket team in such a way that their names have today become bywords for great leadership in the cricketing sphere. Where Pataudi helped Indians lose the "Perpetual underdog" tag, Gavaskar infused into the side the spirit of aggression that was practically non-existent. Kapil is, of course, fondly remembered as the not-so-old wise man who, in 1983, took a bunch of young, inexperienced cricketers to the apex of the cricket world in 1983. While it is hard to put a finger on one aspect of Kapil's captaincy and state that that was the element which brought about a metamorphosis in Indian cricket, it can be unequivocally stated that he was an enterprising skipper whose greatest asset was his ability to repose faith in many a youngster.
Cricket is probably the only team game wherein there is more to the job of a Captain than wearing an arm band. He (or she) occupies a predominant position and the fate of the game hinges on his decisions. While the rest of the team plays just the game of cricket, the Captain of the side is indulged in two games, the other being the game of chess with the Captain of the opposition. There was a time when England chose players almost exclusively to don the role of a Captain—the most celebrated example being that of Mike Brearley who Captained England in 31 of the 39 Tests. Of course, today even to conceive such an idea, particularly in India, would border on the preposterous. So, it comes as no surprise that whenever a Captain manages to lead a rather modest side to great heights, he is hailed as a hero while being admonished whenever he makes a blunder. Dhoni, unconventional in his approach to the game and unorthodox when it comes to batting, has indeed achieved feats, both as a Captain and as a player, which will ensure that his name is not effaced from the pages of History. Though he is only 32 and looks good for maybe another five years, given the amount of cricket being played today, it would be safe to assume that BCCI needs a player to fall back in times of emergency. A contingency plan would be a more appropriate phrase.
In Kohli, India seems to have found its answer. Although he has only assumed the mantle a mere eight times among which five of them have been against a weak Zimbabwe side, it does look as though Kohli has the gravitas to take on the job full-time should the occasion arise. Against a hapless Zimbabwe side, which did not even look like a pale shadow of its formidable self a decade and a half ago, Kohli led the eager, unbridled youngsters in the side admirably to see India complete its first ever whitewash in an overseas tour.
In West Indies, where he was first given the opportunity to showcase his skills as a leader, although Kohli showed that he could handle responsibility, it looked like his slightly impetuous nature was getting the better of him more often than not. The easily excitable Kohli even went to the length of saying that he needed to learn the art of keeping cool from Dhoni. But then, keeping cool under pressure is Dhoni's USP. That does not mean that Kohli should entirely forget about composure. But, he ought not to try too hard to restrain himself. After all, it is his natural streak of aggression that has made him the new cricketing sensation. All Kohli needs to make sure of is not to allow his exuberance to override his sense of logic which in turn might adversely affect the process of decision making.
Leading a second rung Indian squad against a mediocre Zimbabwe team might not have really strained his brain cells seeing as how India hardly needed to come up with novel tactics to thwart the host nation but Kohli did have the responsibility of keeping everyone in the side, including some of his seniors, satisfied and had to remain vigilant in order to ensure that complacency did not creep into the side. And it would be safe to say that Kohli has managed to acquit himself well in these departments. 

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