Virat Kohli was announced recently as the captain of Wisden’s Test XI of the decade. This came as a big accolade for the Indian skipper, who became the first to win a Test series in Australia and then went onto win the ODI series in New Zealand and Australia both. He kept the success going by taking the Indian team to the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup.
Kohli then dominated South Africa and Bangladesh in Tests at home. He has gone on from strength to strength and finished the year by beating West Indies in both T20I and ODI series at home. He ended the year on a high at no.1 spot in both Tests and ODI ICC rankings and kept India at the pinnacle of Test rankings as well. However, England’s Monty Panesar mentioned that the reason for his success at the helm was completely different.
I think Virat Kohli has changed the team dynamics, says Monty Panesar
Monty, the former England spinner, who played a huge part in England’s Test series win in India, was in the country to promote his book ‘The Full Monty’. His career took a nosedive after the 2013 Ashes as he struggled with alcoholism, bouts with depression and overall distraction. In a chat with Times of India, Panesar talked about Indian cricket and Virat Kohli.
He praised the Indian captain for changing the dynamics of the team especially the fitness levels. He also mentioned that the advent of IPL meant that India produced better cricketers with international exposure, citing Jasprit Bumrah as the prime example. He also gave his two cents on why Virat Kohli is succeeding as captain of the team and credited the good players that were playing in the team and performing at peak levels.
“As long as India is winning, that’s the main thing. He (Kohli) has got options, hasn’t he? He can play finger-spin, he can play wrist-spin. It doesn’t really matter as long as they win. So I think he’s probably just picking the team on whoever is performing well. And then if they’re not performing that well, then he would pick another group of players. The reason that he’s doing well is that he knows he has a group of, let’s say, 15 to 20 players he can pick from. And he knows they will all perform well,” Panesar was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Talking about the upcoming Indian tour to New Zealand, Panesar felt that since Kohli has a better bowling attack, India should beat the Kiwis in their own backyard. “Virat Kohli has got a good seam attack now. So they should beat New Zealand in New Zealand,” he said.
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