In Stats: Virat's All-Star Career as Indian Men's Cricket Captain
In a format that's been played since 1877, Kohli ends his tenure among the top four captains in Test cricket.
The moment Virat Kohli relinquished the T20I captaincy, it was only a matter of time before the BCCI took over and appointed one individual to captain India across all formats. He was recently replaced as India’s ODI captain - and as someone who has been inside the dressing room for years, he will know well that for there is no room for two power centers in the Indian dressing room – and therefore it was only natural that he would also relinquish the Test captaincy.
Virat's first taste of Test captaincy was when he was handed the reins of the Indian team when regular captain MS Dhoni was injured prior to the first Test on the tour of Australia in December 2014. The following year, he was announced as India’s regular Test captain – and he held the top spot in Indian cricket for the last seven years.
By the time Kohli decided to end his tenure as India’s Test captain, he – and his team – had achieved plenty.
India were the top-ranked team in Test cricket for quite some time when Virat Kohli was captain
India became a force to be reckoned with – at home and overseas during Virat Kohli’s tenure
India were expected to win not just Test matches, but Test series overseas
India made it to the Final of the ICC World Test Championship
Under Virat Kohli, India also won a Test series in Australia for the first time ever, lead in a Test series in England and did not lose a Test series at home.
Despite not registering favourable (and expected) results in recent times – losing the ICC World Test Championship Final, not beating New Zealand 2-0 at home, and losing the Test series in South Africa – Virat Kohli will go down in the record books as one of the most successful Test captains.
In a format that has been played since 1877, Virat Kohli ends his tenure among the top four captains in Test cricket.
In terms of win percentage, Virat Kohi’s win percentage of 58.8% is the third highest in Test history among the 62 captains who have captained in 25 Tests or more.
Closer home, Virat Kohli not only captained India in the most Test matches, he would also be India’s most successful Test captain. He was the first Indian skipper to lead the team to a Test series win in Australia and even as he signs off, the Indian team lead England 2-1 in the currently suspended five-match Test series on their home soil.
Studied closely – Virat Kohli’s record as Test captain makes for impressive reading. During his tenure as captain, India barely lost a Test match at home, and never in fact, lost a Test series at home.
Virat Kohli also tops the list of most wins by India’s Test captains overseas. And that is indeed a special achievement; in the last five-six decades, India have always been a formidable (and often unbeatable) opponent at home, but winning overseas was a rare occurrence.
Under Virat Kohli, India won many Test matches overseas – and it was under his tenure an expectation was set that India could win no matter who the opponent, or what the conditions.
And now, as he hands his captaincy boots, it may be a good time to also focus on how his captaincy in other formats too was a successful stint. Though there may be the glaring miss of much ICC glory, Virat has been a successful leader in the shorter formats as well.
In One Day Internationals, Virat had an outstanding record as captain before he was replaced by Rohit Sharma late last year. His win percentage of 68.4% is the best among all of India’s regular captains.
Virat’s record as India’s T20I captain is impressive too. Among the 7 players who have captained their national team in 50 or more T20Is, only Afghanistan’s former captain Asghar Afghan has a higher win percentage than Kohli’s 64.0%.
It is generally believed that captaincy comes with pressures, burdens, etc. and can affect an individual’s performance – after being named captain. But in Virat Kohli’s case, the added responsibility of captaincy generally seemed to spur him to perform better, and be better than he was as a player in the side.
There was a 33% increase in his batting average when he was Test captain, a nearly 42% increase in his ODI batting average after he became captain and he scored hundreds more frequently after he became India’s ODI captain.
As with all players’ careers, there will be something or the other left unaccomplished at the end of a career. In the context of Virat Kohli’s captaincy tenure in international cricket, the one big miss will be not winning an ICC title.
There are also a few more other boxes he and his team of world-beaters could not tick during Virat's seven year tenure at the helm of Indian men's cricket:
But now, even as one of India's greatest-ever leaders gives up his captaincy armband, there's much to look forward to. A new leader, possibly a younger team and the winds of change that coachRahul Dravid is likely to usher in.
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