What makes a good captain in Cricket? Certainly, one of the major and primary criteria would be the win percentage. How many matches the team won under him or her? Statistically, there are few more areas which one can narrow down the criteria which makes a good captain. For example, the player’s contribution with the bat or ball in wins or losses, how other players perform under him etc. Taking decisions under pressure, deciding bowling changes accordingly, all of these are heavily dependent on a captain. It is always tough to point out a certain captain as the best of the lot. But relying on just numbers, we can say, Virat Kohli beyond doubt is one amongst the best.
Kohli first led India in 2013 against Sri Lanka. However, with MS Dhoni around as skipper, he was just a deputy in his absence till 2016. Since 2017, Kohli was appointed as the full-time captain of India in ODIs. He was the complete opposite of his predecessor. The in-your-face attitude, his aggression and passion towards the game was second to none. In fact, his aggression is something even the cricketing fraternity admires.
Looking into his records as captain in ODIs, unquestionably he is there at the top. In the 89 matches he has captained India in ODIs, he has a win percentage of 71. Among skippers who have led for more than 50 ODIs, his is the 4th best. When we speak about Indians who have led their sides for more than 10 ODIs, only Rohit Sharma has a better record.
In some cases, to arrive at a conclusion just by the overall win percentage is not convincing. There is a slight possibility either of his home or away records cancel out each other. Kohli is one of those Indian skippers who has excelled both, home and away. In fact, his away record is better than his home record. Among Indian captains who have led the team in more than 25 matches, Kohli has the joint-best home record and the best away win record in ODIs.
When we speak about Kohli it is just not about his captaincy skills. The contributions which he makes with the bat is also one of the reasons why he is rated as one of the best captains. He has scored 4085 runs in wins for India at an average of 90.8 with 17 centuries to his name. This is the second highest number of runs scored by a captain in wins after Ricky Ponting. However, his average of 90.8 is the best among the batters who have 1000 runs in wins as a captain in ODIs.
There is always the added responsibility when you are the captain of a team and the ace batsman. Handling pressure in a high intense situation and then coming out to bat can always be stressful. Even greats like Sachin Tendulkar faltered when he was the skipper. But, these consequences or challenges bring the best out of Kohli. His numbers as captain are impeccable. With 5147 runs at an average of 74.6 as a captain, Kohli tops the averages list among skippers who have scored more than 2000 runs. In the centuries’ list, with 21, he is just one away from levelling Ponting’s tally. Kohli has an average of 51.3 as non-captain, but as a skipper he has an average of 74.6. This is a pure indication of this man’s hunger for extreme challenges.
The Indian team under Kohli have tasted sweet victories in the past, especially their away series wins. India won their first ever bilateral series in South Africa under Kohli. They beat Australia in a bilateral series in 2018/19. Later they went on to beat New Zealand in a 5-match bilateral series in early 2019. At home, Kohli has lost only one series out of the eight, which was against Australia in March 2019. Though Kohli doesn’t have an ICC trophy on his resume, with the amount of passion, aggression, he is destined to bag one sooner than later.