Michael Holding has compared Virat Kohli to Sir Vivian Richards and shown his confidence stating that the former that he will learn the art of remaining calm down even during tense situations. Holding, however, has questioned Kohli’s selection policy calling his continuous rotations "unhealthy".
In the recent time, Kohli has been considered as one of the most aggressive players in cricket and after taking the charge of the Indian cricket team his aggression appeared to have seeped into the rest of the squad as well. But as time has gone by, he has learned the method of controlling the emotions on the ground. Former Windies pacer Holding compared Kohli's approach on the field to Sir Viv Richards in terms of batting and as well as of captaincy.
“At the moment he is a young captain, who is just learning and understanding what it takes to be a captain. He is a bit exuberant and very emotional. Sometimes he gets so emotional that it is intimidating not only for the opposition but for his players as well. When I compare Virat to Vivian Richards, it is not just in the batting but captaincy as well,” Holding told PTI.
“It was similar with Viv. When he took over the captaincy, it was similar. And then he grew in the job. He learnt to be a little bit calmer and then his team got calmer as well. And then the results came. I think it should be a similar learning situation with Virat.”
In the recently concluded Test series between India and South Africa, the visitors managed to win the third and final Test at Wanderers by 63 runs after facing defeats in the first two games. After losing the first game by 72 runs in Cape Town, everybody pointed out Kohli’s decision of excluding Ajinkya Rahane to give a spot to Rohit Sharma. In the next game, the Indian skipper retained Rohit in the batting line-up and dropped in-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the pace attack and in the third game, he finally gave Rahane a chance to play a game in the white jersey and dropped Rohit. Holding expressed that Kohli’s frequent change policy in the playing XI will affect the team’s results in the long term.
“You are playing in so many different conditions, in so many foreign countries, that you think that this pitch now suits this person or doesn’t suit someone else. Also, in the modern game, there is so much cricket that you tend to rotate players especially bowlers and give them a bit of rest. If that is a reason why he is doing it, you can understand that. But it is unhealthy making so many changes,” said Holding.
“When you go back to the great Test teams, they would change now and again, not every Test match, because then even the players are unsettled and they are not sure if they are going to play the next game or not. They might be worried that if I don’t perform today, I might be out tomorrow.
“And you need settled players. You need them to think positively about their game. You need them to think I will go out there and even if I fail, I am good enough and they will give me another chance. It doesn’t happen with rotation constantly, which again is unhealthy.”
India played the last series in 2017 against Sri Lanka at home where Rahane contributed only 17 runs in three Tests while Rohit played knocks of 102 runs in Nagpur and 65 and unbeaten 50 runs in Delhi. After the first Test against South Africa, where Rohit managed to score only 11 and 10 runs in two innings, Kohli tried to justify his selection by stating that he considered players' recent form while picking the playing XI for the game. Holding suggested the Indian side to be more careful while choosing batsmen, especially on overseas tours.
“When they left out Ajinkya Rahane I was a bit surprised. Everyone is saying that he didn’t have a good series against Sri Lanka, but he has an excellent record away from home. A lot of Indian batsmen struggle when they leave India, but he has not (struggled). So once you leave India that’s the first thing you think of,” he said.
“Rahane has to be back in the team even though he hasn’t been making runs. Look at how he played at Wanderers (second innings). His record overseas is too good. You have got to think of batsmen, when you see them play, what they will do on different surfaces.”
In the three-match Test series, Kohli finished as the highest run-scorer with 286 runs including one century and one half-century followed by AB de Villiers who scored 211 runs. Kohli led the Indian Test side in 35 games so far winning 21 games and Holding feels that he is far ahead of the former Indian legends.
“He is a top-class batsman. He is way above the rest of Indian batsmen in this team. When I think of the past Indian batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar was the best batsman in his team. But he wasn’t that far ahead of people like Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman. He was better than them but not miles ahead,” Holding said.
“Virat is miles ahead of everybody on this Indian team but I don’t think it influences his captaincy. And as soon as Virat gets some runs in England, I am happy to put the label great