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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014
In the web of intrigue, handle Kohli with care
Pradeep Magazine, Hindustan Times
March 02, 2012
First Published: 23:42 IST(2/3/2012)
Last Updated: 23:47 IST(2/3/2012)
Virat Kohli (L) is congratulated by teammate Suresh Raina after hitting the winning runs against Sri Lanka in their international one day cricket match played in Hobart. AFP/William West

Indian cricket is increasingly becoming a web of deceit and conspiracies, which should be a script writer's delight. The latest twist to the tale is Sehwag's exclusion from the team, which the Board insists is not "dropping" of the player but mere "resting" due to an injury.

Here too, there are conflicting versions. Is it a shoulder injury, as chairman of the selection committee Srikkanth said in his post-selection press conference, or back spasms, which Sehwag told a newspaper, was the reason for his seeking rest?

This voluble debate was enlivened by the theatrical antics of Srikkanth, who felt so irritated at being intensely questioned on this issue, that he lost his cool and used intemperate language, which reflects the complete disarray into which the sport has fallen.

All this happened in the backdrop of a stupendous Indian performance on the field, which saw them scoring a swift, stunning win that should have laid to rest all talk of a divided team, disinterested in on-field activities That it still did not stop questions being raised on the commitment of the players and the administrators goes to show that either the media is too obsessed with creating rifts where none exist, or there is something intrinsically wrong with the way cricket is being run.

Even the elevation of Virat Kohli, an exceptional batting talent, whose explosive century against the Lankans lifted the Indians from the depths of despair, though it was not enough give them one final chance to redeem themselves, is debatable.

No one doubts what Kohli is capable of.

He has been a rare exception in the midst of terrible all-round failures, someone who could very easily fill the void that the likes of Laxman and Dravid would soon create.

But does that mean we reward him with a responsibility which does not sit easily on even mature minds. Here we have a young, brash man, whose conduct needs course correction before he is burdened with hopes of leading the side in future.

Indian cricket in the recent past has played musical chairs with the vice-captaincy slot. First it was Gautam Gambhir who was seen as a potential captain, then for reasons best known to the selectors, Sehwag was resurrected on this tour as Dhoni's deputy and now Kohli is being projected as his heir apparent. 

Kohli on this tour has shown his middle-finger to the spectators, has questioned umpiring decisions and is seen as an angry, intemperate young man, not the best qualities you would associate with a leader.

It would have been better had he been left to concentrate on his batting, rather than being saddled with a responsibility which could be an unnecessary burden rather than a boon.

Men with explosive tempers are ill-suited to handle players with giant-sized egos, who would see them as upstarts being pushed up the ladder, like Suresh Raina was on the tour of the West Indies.

Kohli is too precious a talent and needs careful handling himself instead of being asked to take care of others.


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