Why Virat Kohli will have not one but 3 big egos to manage in India cricket team
Virat Kohli had reservation about Anil Kumble’s style of coaching. Now the young Indian cricket team captain will have to manage three heavyweight coaches -- Ravi Shastri, Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravidcricket Updated: Jul 13, 2017 12:00 IST
‘On paper’ is a tricky term in sport. Like, the Virat Kohli-led India were favourites ‘on paper’ to defeat Pakistan in ICC Champions Trophy final, but what transpired on field was exact opposite.
The occurrences post that title clash loss saw Indian cricket go through a tumultuous time, culminating in a day-long drama involving confusion, denial and acceptance. The outcome of the potboiler has given Team India – on paper, that is – a winning combination.
Just imagine, the exciting Virat Kohli taking tips from one of the greatest batsmen ever – Rahul Dravid. While the likes of Jasprit Bumrah are polishing their skills under the best left-handed Indian pacer, Zaheer Khan. And all this is happening under the watchful eyes of one of India’s top all-rounders, Ravi Shastri.
Indian cricket cannot imagine a more picture perfect moment.
Too many heads?
But then again comes the ‘on paper’ factor. The presence of heavyweights definitely gives edge but it can also add to the burden.
For reference, one can always go back to the resignation statement by ex-India coach Anil Kumble, where he termed his relation with captain Virat Kohli as ‘untenable’. That there was an ego clash between the two big names was largely apparent.
Anil Kumble was not Kohli’s first choice as India coach but was rather imposed on him by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) including Sourav Ganguly, SachinTendulkar and VVS Laxman.
However, Kohli finally had his way when on Tuesday as Shastri was named the India head coach. But what he probably wasn’t expecting was two surprise add-ons – Zaheer Khan as bowling coach and Rahul Dravid as overseas batting consultant.
Incidentally, during his tenure, Kumble had reportedly recommended Zaheer as the pace bowling coach. Dravid, meanwhile, was a long-time teammate of Kumble in India ranks and also Karnataka.
The duo’s presence in the dressing room for future tours has surely made the Indian support staff a star-studded line-up. But it has also given Kohli extra egos to handle.
Onus on Virat Kohli
The captain’s rapport with Ravi Shastri is been a well-known fact. The last time the latter was at the helm, the Indian cricket team reached the semi-finals of 2015 ICC World Cup and 2016 World T20.
The two will join hands again starting from this month’s Sri Lanka tour and progressing to away series’ in South Africa, England, Australia, New Zealand and of course, the 2019 World Cup. With greats Dravid and Zaheer also among the ranks, insights and instructions won’t be in short supply. The onus, however, will be on Kohli to implement those on field.
The last time Kohli had a great in the support staff, the relation ended in a bitter way. Now Kohli will have two greats by his side, whom he didn’t even ask for.
Rahul Dravid is the Indian U-19 coach and youngsters like Rishabh Pant will feel more comfortable in his presence. For captain Kohli, it will be comforting to have their presence, especially at a time when Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni are on the wane and the need of the hour is to groom youngsters.
But Kohli, the captain, needs to ensure that egos don’t clash this time. His performance as a batsman is unquestionable, but his maturity in man-management will be now be in focus. Particularly, after Kumble’s exit and Dravid, Zaheer’s entry.
If the 28-year-old captain can achieve the synchronisation, India ‘on paper’ look set for great results.