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  5. Year Ender 2018 | Same old Virat Kohli: The undisputed 'King' but a flawed leader

Year Ender 2018 | Same old Virat Kohli: The undisputed 'King' but a flawed leader

Virat Kohli has scored 2735 runs in 2018 but under his captaincy, India have failed to win either of the Test series in South Africa and England.

India TV Sports Desk India TV Sports Desk
New Delhi Published on: December 28, 2018 18:21 IST
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This year was supposed to test Kohli as a captain to the full, and it did.

Virat Kohli has made a habit of piling on the runs over the last couple of years and the tally has only got bigger over the last couple of years.

In 2016, which was perhaps one of the best years in Kohli's career, he smashed 2595 runs from 41 innings in international cricket and a humongous 973 runs in the Indian Premier League.

The following year, his tally got better in international cricket with 2818 runs across all the formats with 1059 runs from 10 Tests and 1460 runs from 26 ODIs. The right-hander also added 299 runs from 10 T20Is along with 308 runs in the IPL -- a total of 3126 runs.

In 2018, Kohli has even surpassed his record from last year and smashed 1322 runs from 13 Tests at an average of 55.08, hitting five hundreds and five fifties. In limited-overs cricket, he has scored 1202 from 14 ODIs at an average of 133.55 and has hit six hundreds and three fifties. In T20 cricket, Kohli has scored 211 runs from 10 T20Is and 530 in the IPL.

His overall tally of runs in 2018, therefore, stands at 2735 runs.

Kohli's batting has gone from strength to strength and with a successful tour of England earlier this year, where he scored 593 runs from 10 innings -- a good 244 runs more than second-placed Jos Buttler, he has also managed to bury the demons of the past and conquer the world as the best batsman in the planet.

But, for Kohli it is more than batting... isn't it? At the end of the day, he is the leader of India and as a captain, he has continued to take some hasty decisions time and again.

This year was supposed to test him as a captain and India -- the No.1 Test team in the world -- to the full. And, so far, despite all the glitz and positivity, it has failed to give results.

India failed to win a series in South Africa despite getting close. The win at Johannesburg no matter how gutsy it was, came more as a consolation than a statement. Few months down the line, India played great cricket but were humbled 1-4 by England in their backyard and now in Australia, after an impressive show in Adelaide, they have gone down crashing in Perth.

All this after the head coach tells the world that this is the best Indian travelling team over the last two decades. And he was backed by the captain, make no mistake.

The problem with Kohli is that he leads from the front with the bat but when it comes to tactics, he has been found wanting.

Starting the year, Kohli decided to bench Ajinkya Rahane in favour of Rohit Sharma and his decision was not vindicated as the Mumbaikar failed to score runs during critical situations of the match. What made it worse was that Rahane played a match-winning knock in the dead rubber at Jo'burg that India won. Not only Jinks, but the team management also decided to drop Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the second game and that didn't go down too well for the visitors either.

Another complaint against Kohli's captaincy is his tendency of going defensive -- which cost India the game in Birmingham. India had England on the mat but a fiery Sam Curran hit a quickfire fifty and England managed to take the target near 200 -- which India failed to chase in the fourth innings and lost by 31 runs.

His wrong reading of conditions continued in England as well. In the very next Test at Lord's, despite the first day getting washed away and overcast conditions, the team decided to go with Kuldeep Yadav instead of an extra pacer and Kuldeep was not only ineffective but leaked runs and India eventually lost the match by an innings and 159 runs -- thus going 0-2 down in the five-Test series.

India won the next game at Nottingham but lost the final two games at Southampton and The Oval and returned home humiliated.

India's next assignment was Down Under and so far India have done decently but it has not been without some chinks in the armour. India drew the T20 series 1-1 and they would feel hard done by as the second T20I, which was washed away was also in the bag. In the Test series, the visitors survived a scare and won by 31 runs but in Perth, the curious case of wrong selections returned to haunt India again.

Kohli & Co. were fooled by the green tinge on the drop-in pitch at the Perth Stadium and opted to go for four pacers and no spinners in the line-up. The result turned out to be yet another lesson as Nathan Lyon spun the hosts to victory and helped them level the series 1-1 with two Tests to go.

What was even more shocking was that Kohli decided to go ahead with Umesh Yadav and not Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who could have used the grass cover to his advantage and also offer little with the bat down the order.

While Kohli has surged way ahead in terms of people questioning his technique with the bat, his ability to lead a side especially in the longest format of the game has come under the scanner a number of times and the 30-year-old has failed to learn from the past on every single situation.

With a Test to go, India still have the chance to go 2-1 up at the MCG and maybe cancel out some of the wrongs mentioned here with a win but the fact that Kohli remains a work in progress even after four years at the helm in red-ball cricket is concerning, to say the least.

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