What’s changed in Indian Cricket since Captain Virat Kohli?

When Virat Kohli was handed the captainship of Indian cricket team once MS Dhoni retired from test cricket, it was an accepted and expected move from the selectors.

Virat was the best choice available then. He was the most evolved and cherished player under MSD’s Captaincy.

But there was one thing that always kept experts discussion panel busy – Virat Kohli’s aggression.

The Big Question then was: Will Virat Kohli be suitable for the Captaincy in light of his aggressive behaviour?

It is very early to judge Virat’s success as a captain. But still, Virat Kohli’s Captaincy stats in Test cricket, so far, might show a glimpse of what is yet to come. Check Virat’s captaincy record compared with Ganguly and Dhoni here.

I would say Virat’s Captaincy selection was an Australian way of choosing the captain. Down under, there was this history of asking their best batsman of the team to lead the team. Evidence: Chappell Brothers, Mark Taylor, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Steve Smith. And this might be their success secret too.

Now, the next big question would be: Has Virat Kohli changed and controlled after his Captaincy?

The Answer is No.

But what he has done different is, he used his aggression in a positive way that has changed the entire team’s way of playing the game.

It would be fair to say Virat’s aggression has spread throughout the current Indian team, which looks more aggressive than ever.

1. The Justifies Aggression

Playing aggressive has not been on the menu of Indian cricket in the past. Saurav Ganguly had his aggression with himself, but he never made it spread through his teammates. But Kohli, on the other hand, makes sure in every match, Indians comes out with the positive and aggressive mind and stays with it till the end.

Virat Kohli’s aggression his strength, says former Aussie Captain Michael Clarke

Kohli aggressive

The only thing that was hurting Indian followers during MSD’s time and before was, India were too defensive to win tests.

They rather went for the draw than taking that ‘one’ decision to go for the win in Tests; maybe it was the best thing to do at their time.

Dhoni was always a tricky leader who had a plan for every batsman. But still, Dhoni always waited for the batsman to play that ‘wrong’ shot to get himself out. He was happy with those undeviating maiden overs bowled by his spinners.

But Kohli’s approach towards the game completely differs. He would be okay with the bowlers going for some runs before picking up the wicket.

2. The Rise of Indian Pace Bowlers

The story of the Indian pacers, before and after Kohli are entirely different. Especially in home Tests, they were used only for the first spell and sometimes comes into to give a break to the spin bowlers. I accept it is because of the nature of the pitches India played at home. But still, it had been destroying the confidence in Indian fast bowlers.

Umesh Yadav

This is one of my favourite improvement in the Indian team under the leadership of Virat Kohli, where the Indian pace bowlers are given the much-needed opportunity, and they are shining brilliantly under Kohli.

Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami look completely different bowlers under Virat Kohli.

Check yourself on Umesh Yadav’s words on Virat Kohli

“Virat is a bowler’s captain. He is someone who would throw the ball at you and tell you to set your own field. He asks me what my plan is or whether I need a particular fielder at a position. He backs your instinct and plans. Only if the plan doesn’t work, he would come up and tell that let’s try this. For him, the bowler gets to execute Plan A and if it doesn’t click, then Plan B,” Umesh said.

Also, you could see Umesh and Shami’s tally of wickets getting high under Virat.

3. Going for the Kill

Virat Kohli is too aggressive to be satisfied with a draw. He has this hunger to win a match under any circumstances. This is something very new to Indian Test cricket. What is important here is the Intent. His intent of ‘Going for the Kill’ could work wonderfully for Indian cricket.

Especially in home, India completely dominates the visiting teams under Virat, and he is already the Indian captain with most innings victory in Tests, and stands among the top 10 Overall.

Virat Kohli and team

Interestingly, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting’s era of Australian cricket team played with the killer intention from the first day of the match. They were the number uno team of their time, and this worked for them brilliantly wherever they traveled and played.

Read this Article: There are shades of Ricky Ponting in Virat Kohli’s Captaincy: Mike Hussey

It is already showing great signs in India’s overseas tours, and the best is yet to come.

4. Giving it back

The current era of Indian cricket belongs to Virat Kohli. The passion and the aggression he brings to the game is enormous, and that is changing the way the game is played in India.

Sledging used to be a foreign word when it comes to Indian cricket. But that was before Kohli.

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Indian batsmen then prefer moving away from the on-pitch arguments and the sledging opposition bowlers.

They always like to show things in action than words.

Virat Kohli against Australia

Virat Kohli differs again here. The way he is on the field only shows that he is not shy to move away from any discussions on the pitch.

It is his way of playing the game. He knows, being a captain, doesn’t put him in a pressure to change his way of cricket. He wants to do what he does best. He knows Australian players and fans will be waiting for the days of him playing in Australia, which makes the rivalry more exciting.

5. Letting it Out

Virat Kohli sledging

Virat is more like a Ganguly kind of a captain than Dhoni. He lets his emotions float over the ground and his players. He will never shy out to show his emotions on the ground.

Broadcasters might have a separate camera focussing only him throughout the match. We have seen and cherished Dhoni’s calmness and his ice-cold attitude for more than 10 years. Now it’s time for us to witness some fury and hot celebrations of Kohli.


dhoni kohli

Kohli’s aggression might come under many criticizations, but he will knock spots off everything with the result he is bringing in with this aggression. I see an Australian kind of Captaincy in Virat Kohli, which could be the one, India needed for a long time, at least in Test cricket. This might not be the right time to judge what Virat Kohli brings in, but I would say h has had the best start one could ever ask from any captain and his side. Check this table here:

most wins after 23 Tests
Captains after first 23 Tests

If Dhoni is the Night/Ice King, Kohli must be the Dragon who spits fire.

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