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Former India captain Sourav Ganguly believes that Virat Kohli needs more time to make his presence felt as a leader, but added that he “has done remarkably well” thus far.
Many people have criticised Kohli’s leadership, given India’s struggles throughout their ongoing tour of South Africa, where they have already lost the Test series.
Former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith even questioned whether it would be a good idea for Kohli to keep captaining India in the long-run.
“When I look at him, I don’t know if he is a long-term captain option for India,” he had said.
Smith added that Kohli also has to keep his fiery attitude in check as it could be having a detrimental effect on his teammates.
“I think it’s on the emotional side [he needs to improve], he gets very fired up without thinking about how that affects other people,” Smith had said.
However, Ganguly came to Kohli’s defence, saying that people need to be more patient.
“There is lot of talk going around about Virat Kohli’s leadership qualities,” he wrote in his column for the Times of India. “It is important to be patient as it is his first big overseas tour.
“Nobody really is a born leader and it is important that leaders are allowed to develop and grow. I am convinced Kohli will keep getting better at this. It is very important that as a leader you keep performing – that is the biggest challenge and this is where Kolhi has done remarkably well.”
With India 2-0 down in the three-Test series, they will be looking to bounce back in the third Test in Johannesburg.
But, with the pitch at the Wanderers having a green tinge, Ganguly said India should consider dropping a bowler and including an extra batsman in the playing XI.
“The hype is obviously about the pitch, about what India will get to play on,” he said. “The groundsman has spoken about a green pitch but till a ball is bowled, you can never say what the track will be like exactly.
“There is also word that India will play five fast bowlers but they will have to be very careful because spin will be useful in a five-day game and variation is also important in a longer format.”
Given that the wicket could favour pace bowlers, India may opt to drop spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, even though he has had a decent impact with the bat.
That being said, Ganguly hinted that it may not be wise to leave the 31-year-old out.
“R Ashwin’s effectiveness with the bat should not also be discounted,” he said. “The Indian bowlers have been in superb form this series. They have picked 20 wickets in both the Tests and it is important for the batters to stand up and put runs on the board.
“There is enormous talent in this batting unit, they have done it before and I find no reason why they can’t do it again. They will need to believe in themselves, need to fight for every run as a batting unit.
“The question for India will be whether to play five bowlers or four. If the pitch remains green till the start then they can go in with four bowlers and should pick that extra batter. If not, they must continue with the five bowlers.”