Former Australia cricketer Shane Lee has expressed his views on the ongoing debate surrounding Virat Kohli’s leadership. This comes on the back of India’s successful 2-1 Test series victory against Australia.
Since then, many experts have weighed in with their views and even pointed to the fact that Kohli should focus just on his batting, with Rahane leading the team in the longer format. Under Rahane’s captaincy, India came from behind to win the four-Test series. It is also worth noting that in the five games that Rahane has captained the team, India is yet to lose a game.
Kohli played the first Test match before returning home for the birth of his first child. While India suffered a humiliating defeat in that game, largely due to an abject second innings score of 36 all out, few expected things to pan out the way they did.
India, after all, was without its star batsman. There were other notable absentees as well in the form of Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma.
However, with the team’s ranks getting thinner by the day owing to injuries, Rahane’s India pulled one out of the hat and stung Australia in their own backyard.
Some have suggested that while Kohli may be one of the greatest batters the game has seen, his record as skipper leaves a lot to be desired.
Players scared of Kohli
Lee believes that many in the Indian team appear “scared” to play under Kohli. He said that while Kohli had the team’s utmost respect, his style may prompt youngsters to feel the heat. He said that the same set of players looked largely relaxed under the “calming influence” of Rahane.
“Look, I think for the team he is and I would have him as captain. Kohli is one of the greatest batsmen of all time. But, I just feel that he is almost revered by the players within the team.
“They’re almost scared to put a foot out of line. He demanded absolute professionalism from the Indian team. The players had to be fit, they had to be great in field and good catching, but they almost appear a bit scared. I just see a really relaxed team under Rahane,” Lee told News18.
Had Lee been in charge of the selection committee, he would ask Kohli to focus solely on his batting. He said that it would in fact benefit the team.
However, Lee conceded that such a thing happening is unlikely and said that he expected Kohli to stay as India’s captain across formats.
“Will Kohli give up the captaincy? I doubt it. If I was an Indian selector, and I’m not, but if I was, I would have Rahane captain the team and instead let Kohli go and do all his batting. And I think the team would function a lot better. But time would tell,” said Lee.
Kohli will take control of the team once again later this week when India hosts England in the first Test of a 4-match series starting in Chennai.