'You're talking about ICC trophy but he hasn't even won an IPL yet': Raina's take on Virat Kohli's India captaincy
Ever since India lost the World Test Championship final, there has been plenty of debate surrounding Virat Kohli's future as India captain. Some feel that Kohli, India's most successful Test captain with 33 wins, should step down and allow the concept of split captaincy to embrace Indian cricket, while most continue to back the Indian captain to continue as its leader across all three formats given the contribution he has made to the team since his appointment.
Former India batsman Suresh Raina has provided his take on Kohli and his captaincy, believing that the skipper needs to be given a bit more time. Under Kohli, India have come close thrice to lift an ICC Trophy – the Champions Trophy in 2017, the 2019 World Cup and most recently, the WTC final – but have stumbled at the final hurdle. With three consecutive World Cups lined up, Raina is confident that Kohli and India will get their hands on at least one ICC trophy.
"I think he has been the No. 1 captain. His record proves that he has achieved a lot. I think he is the No. 1 batsman in the world. You're talking about an ICC trophy but he hasn't even won an IPL yet. I feel that he needs to be given some time. There are 2-3 World Cups taking place one after the other - two T20 World Cups and then the 50-over World Cup. It's not easy to reach the final - sometimes you miss out on a few things," Raina told News24 Sports.
Having said that, Raina did point out that India lost the WTC final, not due to conditions but because the batsmen could not perform. Despite two entire days getting washed out due to rain, the match ended up producing a winner. Needing to bat out four sessions, India were bowled out for 170 in their second innings as New Zealand chased down 139 to be crowned the inaugural World Test Champions. Weighing in on the same, Raina feels the senior batsmen needed to have shown a little more responsibility.
"The WTC final was one such example. People said it was because of the conditions but I feel there was something lacking in batting. The bigger batsmen will have to stitch partnerships and take responsibilities," he added.
Following India's eight-wicket defeat, fans were quick to jump the gun on social media, with many using the 'C' word about India and their performance in ICC tournaments. Responding to it, Raina defended India and predicted the team to bring home an ICC title within the next year and a half.
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"See, we are not chokers, because we already have the 1983 World Cup, 2007 T20 World Cup the then 50-over World Cup in 2011. We need to understand that players are training hard. With three World Cups approaching, I don't think anyone will call them chokers. We need to give them a little more time. They are doing well and Virat has the capability to change the game. We need to respect the new style of this team. But I feel that in the next 12 to 16 months, an ICC trophy is going to come to India," Raina explained.