In tune with his decisions that often left the cricketing world stumped, India’s limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped down on Wednesday, almost two years after he retired from the longest format of the game.
The new captain hasn’t been named, but Test skipper Virat Kohli is expected to take over the mantle from Captain Cool. It won’t be an easy task for Kohli, given that Dhoni’s success rate in the limited-overs format has been exceptional and way better than his Test record.
While he retired from Tests as the sixth-most successful captain in the history of the game, with 27 wins from 60 matches, Dhoni was the most successful T20I captain (41 wins out of 72 matches) and is third on the list of ODI captains (110 wins out of 199 matches) behind Ricky Pointing and Stephen Fleming.
More than the numbers, Kohli has to keep in mind that the team will have only three ODIs before it heads for the Champions Trophy in England later this year.
Unlike the Test team’s recent form, India managed to win only seven games out of 13 last year, including a 1-4 thrashing in Australia in January.
Also, in Dhoni, India had a match-winner who could change fortunes at will in the limited-overs format. Given his stature, it won’t be easy to fit another player in the jigsaw puzzle.
Dhoni hasn’t retired from international cricket but this is definitely an indication that it might not be long before he hangs up his boots.
Dhoni had won all the three ICC tournaments as captain and comparisons are bound to happen once Kohli takes charge. Kohli’s only advantage is that he will have two years before the World Cup and is in the form of his life, as a batsman and skipper of the Test side, as he gears up to take over the role.
He has been at the helm for the past two years, and the players are acquainted with his style of captaincy. That, after all, transformed the team in the past few months.