Virat Kohli and Joe Root: a tale of two cricket captains
One has stood down as his country’s Test skipper while the other wants to fight on
After seven years of “hard work, toil and relentless perseverance”, Virat Kohli this week announced that he was stepping down as captain of India’s Test cricket team.
Kohli, 33, led India in a “record-breaking 68 Tests, winning 40 matches – the fourth best record of any Test captain in history”, the BBC said. His announcement came after India were beaten 2-1 in the series against South Africa.
He may have departed as India’s Test talisman, but Kohli has built a legacy that will “live on long after him”, said The Guardian’s Anand Vasu. This Indian team “can and will win overseas, in any and all conditions” and his vision was to build a side that could win in Australia and England, “with an emphasis on fast bowling that had never been seen before”.
In an “impactful” seven years as Test captain, Kohli showed “who was the boss” by letting the opposition and the world “know every success on the field”, said Sanjjeev K Samyal in the Hindustan Times.
Regarded as “one of the greatest cricketers of all time”, Kohli previously served as India’s captain in both Twenty20 and one-day international matches, CNN reported. He will, however, “continue to contribute as a player and help Indian cricket attain greater heights”, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in a statement.
The age of Kohli the captain is over, but Kohli the batsman will remain, said the BBC’s Suresh Menon. “Perhaps the end of the captain will see the resurgence of the batter.”
Root: I want to turn things around
Another Test captain whose future is up in the air is England’s Joe Root. After his side’s 4-0 thrashing by Australia in The Ashes, Root said he wants to stay on as England Test skipper, but admits the decision may not be his to make, Sky Sports reported.
“I believe that I am the right man to take this team forward,” the 31-year-old said. “I have an appetite to carry on and turn things around. If that decision is taken out of my hands, so be it.”
Following Kohli’s announcement, “I wonder what went through Root’s mind when he learnt of this” and “what will be going through his mind in the next few weeks”, said former England captain Alastair Cook in The Sunday Times. “Only Joe will know and I respect his decision either way.”
For now, Root remains as England’s Test captain – but there is lots of improvement needed. The 146-run loss in the fifth Ashes Test in Hobart condemned England to a tenth defeat in their last 14 Test matches, Sky Sports said. And just one victory has come in that time.
“At the minute we are going through a real tough stage as a group of players and the performances haven’t been good enough,” Root said. “But I’d love the opportunity to try to turn things around and for us to start putting in performances from an English Test team.”