Virat Kohli, an icon in world cricket at the moment, is slowly but steadily making his way to the top of the list of India’s best captains. He has a terrific record till date, with 22 wins in 30 ODIs and 18 wins in 28 Tests. His win percentage at the moment in both formats is better than that of any previous Indian skipper who held the post for a minimum of 10 matches.
With such terrific numbers in his short stint thus far, Kohli has earned quite a reputation in captaincy circles. Although India have played a lot of home matches during this period, the resounding nature of the victories has earned him many plaudits. Quite a few players have improved immensely under Kohli and here we list out five of them.
Kohli, after being named the skipper, laid emphasis on fast bowling and this aided the likes of Mohammed Shami, who often found himself sidelined in the Dhoni-era. Once hailed as one of India’s most promising bowlers, Shami has been constantly plagued by injuries but better management and more game time have seen him get fitter.
Under Kohli, Shami has been outstanding, especially in Test cricket. He has 43 wickets in 14 Tests at an average of 28.23. Shami has formed a potent partnership with Umesh Yadav and his numbers, which have come mostly in the sub-continent, are a testimony to his improvement under the current skipper.
When Umesh Yadav arrived on the scene, he was an exciting fast bowler who thrived on pure pace. He was wayward but enjoyed bowling on bouncy Australian pitches. But just like every other out and out fast bowler, Yadav did not have much else in his armoury and failed to maintain his place in the side.
But Kohli’s preference for sheer pace meant the 29-year-old received another opportunity and he shone, like never before. He regained rhythm, added variations to his repertoire and became a completely different bowler. He is undoubtedly India’s no.1 bowler in Tests at the moment.
He has 45 wickets in 21 Tests under Kohli while in ODIs he has 25 in 15 matches at 24.40 against 35.41 under Dhoni.
Lokesh Rahul is a player who has benefitted immensely from his IPL stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore. He became a trusted figure in the top order in the RCB setup and created quite an impression on Virat Kohli who was quick to support the swashbuckling batsman.
All but two of his Tests have come under Kohli and in this short time, Rahul has risen above the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir in the Test line-up. He already has four hundreds in his Test career with a highest of 199 and is set to partner Murali Vijay when India tour South Africa and England.
Ravindra Jadeja has transformed himself into quite a utility player, especially in Test cricket. Under Virat Kohli, the all-rounder has found a new lease of life and his stump to stump bowling and aggressive batting is valued like never before.
He is the World’s no.1 bowler and all-rounder currently and the role Kohli has played in this new avatar is not to be underestimated. Under the proactive skipper, Jadeja has 106 wickets in 19 Tests at 20.84, a stark contrast to his average in the 30s under Dhoni. He even has seven five-fors under Kohli as against two under Dhoni.
Cheteshwar Pujara was initially dropped in the beginning of Kohli’s tenure, the reason being that he wanted to see more intent from the Saurashtrian. Pujara worked hard and earned a recall after which he has thrived.
He has over 2000 runs already under Kohli in 23 Tests at an average of 62.51 with seven hundreds and nine half-centuries. Under Dhoni, Pujara had played three additional Tests but had one century less and an average below 50.
In Sri Lanka this time around, Pujara has been rock solid, evoking memories of the ‘Wall’ himself at no.3. He has displayed more intent and scored quickly, with his double century stand with Ajinkya Rahane coming at a pretty brisk rate.