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‘Shrewd’ Virat Kohli among top-3 captains of all time, says this England great

Virat Kohli has given the Indian cricket team pride and aggression, according to former England captain Mike Brearley.

cricket Updated: Feb 02, 2018 13:05 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs SOuth Africa,South Africa vs India,Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli is currently leading the Indian cricket team in an ODI series in South Africa.(Hindustan Times)

Respected former England captain Mike Brearley rated Virat Kohli among his three favourite captains of all-time but at the same advocated the importance of checks and balances for cricket captains. (India vs South Africa, 1st ODI, Durban - HIGHLIGHTS)

Asked to rate his three favourite captains at his book release event here, Brearley singled out Ray Illingworth, Ian Chappell and Kohli.

“I haven’t been close enough to (Virat) Kohli but I admire him enormously, he has given the team pride and aggression. He is always attentive, keen eyed, he is a wonderful batsman and he is shrewd,” said Brearley, who captained England in 31 of the 39 Test matches he played.

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Brearley is also a psychoanalyst and in his new book he has analysed the reasons for form in various professions from cricket, medicine to music.

Referring to the analysis of Kohli by former Committee of Administrators member Ramchandra Guha, where the India captain has been described as all-powerful, Brearley agreed there should be a system of checks and balances. “Yes, the captain is the most powerful member of the team. There’s balance and he must not be the only one.

“A leader of a country should be kept in check. He needs to have people he listens to and people who tells him where he’s getting things wrong. Kennedy used to have a group of people who’s job was to criticise his policies, that seems to be very healthy.”

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On India being ready for England tour, he said any team finds it hard nowadays because of the wickets being prepared to suit the home teams. “India have got a very good team. I was impressed with how they stuck at it in the last innings in Johannesburg in the field and their batting on difficult pitches was against good quality bowling.”

As for Kohli changing squads in almost every Test match, Brearley looked at it as a T20 effect. “I find it extraordinary, and probably because it is unsettling to the team when you have too many changes. May be what is come in with T20 cricket is greater openness to variability.”

Brearley felt Kohli has come through from the disappointing tour of England in 2014. “He’s now scoring runs everywhere. He was up against top quality bowlers in conditions that suited them.”

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 22:34 IST