Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly reckons Kohli a fortunate captain as he gets to play 13 matches in a single home season. Though, he praised India’s performance as well after a complete dominant season.
Ganguly wrote a column for ICC, where he said, “Virat will consider himself lucky as I don’t recall any Indian captain and his team having an opportunity to play as many as 13 Tests at home in a single season. You still have to win a game, even at home, but we all knew India would win at least eight Tests, and they won as many as 10, missing out on a sure win in one, saving one and losing one.”
The one match India missed out was in Ranchi, where visiting Australia batted tremendously well to save the Test on the fifth day against top-two spinners of the world. Before this, Australia outplayed India in Pune and Rajkot Test against England was drawn by Indian captain Virat Kohli.
Team India recorded their best ever home season and Ganguly believes that hosts have set new standards. He said, “Having watched the last 13 home Tests, I hope Virat and his team really has the potential to win anywhere — in or outside India.”
Dada is very pleased with the victory in Dharamshala, where India forced Australia to bend on knees and won the game in a different fashion. “I was sitting at home around lunch time on Day three when Australia began its second innings. Over the next hour or so, I watched such great fast and hostile bowling by Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The way they got the Australians hoping and succumbing to the pace, I am so pleased for Virat,” he said.
“The most memorable win came in conditions actually tailor-made for the Australians more than the Indians. The fact that India beat the Aussies at their game will surely give another twist to Virat’s captaincy.”
Ganguly further added, “Umesh is so confident. He knows what he’s doing and credit to Virat for making Umesh realise what he can do. When India travel to South Africa this year and to England and Australia the next Virat will need his pacers to be fit and strong. If he can get a good third fast bowler, behind Umesh and Mohammed Shami, India will be a threatening side.”
During the recently concluded series, Australia stopped India’s unbeaten streak in Pune as latter was defeat less since its previous 19 matches. The last time India was on the sad side came against Sri Lanka in August 2015 in Galle, where Sri Lanka registered an unbelievable win over visitors.
The southpaw reckons that Galle loss was a turnaround for Virat Kohli’s leadership. “I think the trigger happened sometime in August 2015 when, from a seemingly unassailable position, India slipped and lost the Galle Test,” Ganguly added. “For a young captain and an equally young team, it was heartbreak and I was actually worried for Virat Kohli. But I was wrong. Like any good leader, Virat sensed the problem, spoke to his team and what has followed since has reinforced my belief in him and his team.”
“When I was the captain, and with such a brilliant team, we all knew winning abroad would make our cricket memorable for the fans. Our overseas success was due to these three factors, and in that order only: bowling, batting, slip catching. I can see the same level of hunger in this team and this is the legacy of this home season,” he further wrote.
“The captain is more passionate and more of a leader than anything else. He wants to win and win every day, and while it may not be possible always, I see Virat not settling for anything that isn’t No 1.”
The 44-year-old is a huge fan of Kohli and he describes why. “Why do I salute him the most? During the England series and in the Kolkata Test against New Zealand, I spoke at length with Virat and not once did he ask me or the curator for any alterations to the pitch. He was just willing to take on the opposition, no matter how the conditions were,” he signed off.