Sunday, October 1, 2023

Combative Kohli represents new-age India: Dean Jones

Himalayan Paths

Sydney, Jan 2 (IANS) Terming Virat Kohli “new king of world cricket”, former Australian batsman Dean Jones said the newly-appointed Test captain represents a new, young and vibrant India.

After Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his retirement from the longest version of the game, the 26-year-old Kohli was named captain of the team for the fourth and final Test Jan 6-10 here.

“Being captain of the Indian Test team is possibly the biggest, toughest and most demanding position in world sport. India are the power brokers and financiers of world cricket, and I could not even imagine the pressures and responsibilities placed on people in this most prestigious role. Now we have a new king of world cricket, Virat Kohli,” Jones wrote in a column in Sydney Morning Herald Friday.

“In the early 1990s, India had many restrictions on private companies lifted and new areas were opened to private capitalisation. India has a successful space program, a leading role in computer software and is pushing the boundaries of medicine. Big brands have pounced, bringing new marketing concepts and new attitudes to the youth of India,” the 53-year-old said.

“Without this background of change, I have no doubt that a conservative BCCI would have chosen a Murali Vijay or a Ajinkya Rahane as their new captain. But Kohli is the very example of the new-age youth of India. The Indian youth are more educated and have a touch of brashness – they want, and expect, the best. Indian youth want to be seen and heard.”

The Australian, who played 52 Tests between 1984-92, admitted Kohli had “big shoes to fill” after Dhoni’s departure.

“It is interesting to note that Kohli and his predecessor MS Dhoni are exact opposites. Dhoni is quite reserved, while Kohli is combative. Kohli knows he has big shoes to fill. But he needs to lead his way. Dhoni captained the team like a python, which hunts for its prey,” he said.

“Kohli, I feel, will try to win a game from ball one. Like Michael Clarke, Kohli is prepared to lose a match while trying to win. He is an aggressive batsman and his captaincy will not be any different,” Jones opined.

Jones also felt that Kohli is the right person to be Indian team’s leader.

“The Australians love bullying the opposition when they get here. But finally we have a player who won’t stand for their tactics. I have known Virat for a short while and I find him very interesting. He believes India can win from anywhere and that was no more evident than in how he led India during the first Test in Adelaide,” Jones wrote in the column.

“That attitude will win over fans and friends. I have no doubt that effort and the recent media conference on ‘who respects who’, were the catalysts for that very defensive declaration by Steve Smith in Melbourne. I believe Kohli is the right man for the job and will bring India more success overseas.”

Jones, who also represented Australia in 164 One-Day Internationals (ODIs), said after India’s poor overseas record under Dhoni, the struggling Test team needed a change at the helm.

“Like most countries around the world, India play brilliantly at home but are atrocious away. It was time for a change and Dhoni knew it and fell on his sword,” he said.

“The game needs India to be strong in all formats of the game. Under Dhoni, India held the No.1 Test ranking for 21 months from 2010-2011. But while India are No.2 in world one-day and Twenty20 rankings, they embarrassingly sit sixth in Test rankings.”

However, Jones praised Dhoni the way he handled the constant criticism and also said the Ranchi-born wicketkeeper will be missed in Tests.

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