'Kohli is still the main man': Hussain on Rahane impact ahead of Chennai Test
- The former England captain though gave credit to Kohli for his role in creating a winning mentality in the Indian team, which he said was evident even when Kohli was away on paternity leave while the team battled in Australia.
Ahead of the start of the Test series between India and England, there has been a lot of talk on how Ajinkya Rahane's leadership in Australia could actually put Virat Kohli under pressure, as he was away when Rahane inspired the team to a comeback 2-1 win.
Rahane himself has said that he would be happy to take the backseat now that Kohli is back in charge of the team and Kohli in his pre-match press conference elaborated on the relationship of trust he shares with Rahane and also lauded his deputy for leading the side with responsibility in Australia.
Former England captain and cricket commentator Nasser Hussain wrote on the emergence of Rahane as a possible candidate as India's Test captain in future in his column in Daily Mail.
Hussain though mentioned that Kohli remains the man in charge for India and a good start to the series against England for the hosts will enhance Kohli's stature again.
"Virat Kohli is still the main man, make no mistake. He is still that god-like figure in India, let alone Indian cricket, and he will be very much in charge for Friday’s first Test against England.
"All the 2-1 win over Australia did was give India another option as captain if things do not go according to plan, because Ajinkya Rahane did exceptionally well taking charge of the last three Tests while Kohli was on paternity leave.
"That was one of the greatest wins in India’s history and Rahane, with his calm captaincy style, would have taken a lot of credit. So that might add a bit of pressure to the returning Kohli," Hussain wrote in his column.
The former England captain though gave credit to Kohli for his role in creating a winning mentality in the Indian team, which he said was evident even when Kohli was away on paternity leave while the team battled in Australia.
"A lot of Kohli’s passion was there in his absence in Australia. India would not be bullied. They would not be beaten by that first Test humiliation and they would not stand down when one of their players, Mohammed Siraj, was racially abused in Sydney.
"Just because Kohli wasn’t captain at the time, it doesn’t mean the culture he has created was missing. He more than anyone is responsible for the modern India attitude on the field to match their power off it. They have a swagger," Hussain wrote.
He opined that the emergence of Rahane as a candidate for captaincy gives England a chance to create some flutter in the Indian camp by starting well in the Test series as that will put Kohli under pressure.
"What I would say is something that was unthinkable just a couple of months ago — Kohli one day being replaced as captain is a possibility now. And if the first Test in Chennai doesn’t go well for India — and that’s a massive ‘if’ — the whole country will be asking whether Rahane should have stayed in charge.
"That’s why England must start well. If India bully them in this first Test and go 1-0 up, everything will be forgotten and Kohli will be the king again.
"But if Joe Root can put some doubt in India minds, then this series could suddenly become very interesting," Kohli said.