Virat Kohli’s reputation as a captain who leads from the front, took a beating as Team India struggled to find its foot at the ongoing T20 World Cup in UAE, losing both their opening matches resoundingly.
The Men In Blue started their campaign on the back of a crushing defeat against arch rivals Pakistan and there was no respite or turnaround. when the team faced New Zealand a week later.
India, however, staged a strong comeback by beating Afghanistan by 66 runs on Wednesday, hardly an even contest, thought the cricket newbies have had an amazing run so far and are far ahead on net run rate, so not to be taken lightly. Even so, India’s fate is not in its hands at the World Cup now.
With early exit fears from the T20 World Cup still looming large, former England spinner Monty Panesar didn’t mince any words and was highly critical of Kohli’s leadership qualities.
Panesar’s remarks came ahead of India’s do-or-die encounter against Afghanistan.
“People will remember Virat as a great batsman and massive chaser but will always criticize him as a leader because he couldn’t do anything when the team was under crisis and he failed to turn it around,” the former England spinner was quoted as saying in a Times of India report.
The ex-England spinner claimed Kohli, who turns 33 today, will always be remembered for his batting heroics, but will have plenty of critics when the topic shifts to his captaincy, often stacked up against the legendary MS Dhoni, who is onboard as team mentor with India at present.
Ahead of that fixture, former Indian cricketer Maninder Singh also felt there is too much confusion within Team India due to the presence of these big names in the team management and the core leadership group.
He told TOI, ‘You plan things, you just don’t go and start hitting out. You don’t change the batting order. Rohit Sharma has got runs at number one, opening position, most of the time and he was sent at No. 3. It showed he was prevented from facing Trent Boult. This is not a very good sign. Kohli, who scored most runs at number 3, came to bat number 4. I just felt that there was a lot of confusion. With Dhoni the mentor and Shastri the coach, there was so much khichdi in the dressing room.’
India face Scotland today on Kohli’s birthday and would be looking to make it extra special for the captain and bolster their chances