Without a shadow of a doubt, Virat Kohli will go down in the history books as one of the greatest Indian skippers who have led the country. The former skipper led from the front and made his country a world-beater. Earlier Indian teams failed to compete in away games. However, after Kohli took command, India not only became competitive but started winning series away from home.
However, no captaincy stint goes without failures and mistakes. Hence, there have been certain decisions made under Kohli’s leadership which did not reap the kind of rewards the management was expecting. So let’s take a look at some of those decisions:
Here are Four decisions taken under Virat Kohli’s captaincy that backfired
1. Delaying Rohit Sharma’s entry into Tests as an opener
Virat Kohli has done wonders for the Indian team in Test cricket as the Men in Blue dominated in this format for a long time under his leadership. However, Virat faces criticism for not trying out Rohit as the opener for the Test team when other openers were failing to impress.
When India toured Australia in 2018, they faced a dilemma as KL Rahul was not in the best of forms and Prithvi Shaw, who was the first choice opener at the time was injured. The team called up Agarwal and made Vihari a make-shift opener in the series. In India’s tour to West Indies in 2019, Virat went ahead and gave KL Rahul the opportunity to open the innings despite his poor string of performances and veteran Rohit Sharma was warming the bench in that series.
The management finally decided to pull the plug and Rohit was asked to open in the three-match series against South Africa at home where the Hitman shattered all records and scored twin tons in his first series as an opener. Rohit ended the show with the Player of the series award. Now, Rohit is regarded as a top opener in Test cricket worldwide.
2. Breaking up Kul-Cha after loss to England in World Cup
Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were critical in India’s success overseas. They formed a deadly pair, especially in the middle overs where they squeezed the opposition teams by consistently picking up wickets. Kuldeep and Chahal played a huge role in India’s white-ball series wins in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and England. Going into the 2019 World Cup, they were the Trump card for Virat Kohli.
However, after the Indian bowling was hammered at Edgbaston in a group stage encounter against England, Kohli separated the duo and they were never seen together again till 2021. Since then, India’s middle over bowling has never been the same. India could not replicate their ODI-winning performances in New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia. Both the leg spinners, especially Kuldeep, were also not given enough confidence to get back into form.
3. Selecting Vijay Shankar over Ambati Rayudu in the 2019 World Cup
In what can be called one of the most controversial calls, Indian selectors picked Vijay Shankar ahead of Ambati Rayudu citing that Shankar can contribute to all three departments. However, whoever was following Indian cricket at that time would know that Rayudu was given the role of playing the doomed no.4 position for India and had done considerably well.
Rayudu averaged over 50 in ODIs which is a rare feat. On the other hand, Shankar’s sample size was very small as he had made his ODI debut in the same year and did not have any noteworthy performances. It can be said that a captain has no say in the selection of a player but Rayudu was not called up to the team even when a couple of Indian players got injured during the tournament.
4. Dropping an in-form Chahal for Rahul Chahar in the 2021 T20 World Cup
India’s 2021 T20 World Cup run was one of their most disastrous performances in ICC tournaments in a long time. India went into the tournament as favourites but their early exit in the tournament surprised everyone. The poor selection has often been blamed for the team’s show at the event where they lost to Pakistan for the first time in World Cups. Selectors picked inexperienced Rahul Chahar over veteran leggie Yuzi Chahal who was India’s leading wicket-taker in the format.
Rahul Chahar had a poor IPL 2021 and was also dropped from the playing XI of his former team MI after his poor show. On the other hand, Chahal had a phenomenal second phase of IPL for RCB just before the World Cup and was in tremendous form. However, selectors overlooked his performances and went ahead with the infamous choice. Now, Rahul Chahar is nowhere near the Indian lineup in any format.
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