T20 World Cup - Virat Kohli's 'Last Dance' as T20 Captain

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T20 World Cup - Virat Kohli's 'Last Dance' as T20 Captain

21 Oct 2021 173 Views Yash Mittal

Cricket, just like life, is a fickle beast! You just don't know what turn it'll take next.  T20 format is a perfect reflection of the uncertainties of life. In many ways, T20 is like Pakistan cricket - you're at the top of the world at one moment and down in the dumps the very next moment.

But there is a difference. In life, you tend to get a second chance to right the wrongs, in T20s you don't. Add this facet of T20s to the fact that this will be the first and last opportunity for Virat Kohli, the T20 skipper, to seize his legacy in the format, and you realize the magnanimity of the task ahead.

As always, India go into another ICC event as massive favorites. Experts, fans are all tipping Virat's men to repeat the heroics of 2007 and exorcise the demons of the past two editions where they came so close and yet so far.

And, to be honest, you can't blame them. Just look at India's record in T20Is since the start of 2017. With 43 wins in 67 games and a win/loss ratio of 2.150, the 'Men in Blue' have comfortably been the most successful side in the world.

Series win in Australia? Check. South Africa? Check? Whitewash of the Kiwis in New Zealand? Check. Home and away series wins against the "best white-ball" team of the era? Check. Check. Check.

In fact, since Kohli took over the captaincy from MSD in January 2017, India has only dropped just three bilateral rubbers- 1-2 vs NZ (2019), 0-2 vs Australia (2019), and 1-2 vs Sri Lanka (2021).

Of these three series defeats, two of them came under stand-in captains Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.

A pretty impressive feat, isn't it? Yet, if you strictly follow the social media discourse, you'll be made to believe that Kohli has been a poor T20I captain.

Of course, Kohli's poor record as RCB skipper and India's inability to win knockout games has played a huge role in shaping up that narrative.

Kohli was India's MVP in the past two T20 WC's. The charismatic cricketer single-handedly carried his side in both events. The sight of him on his haunches as Lendl Simmons smashed India out of contention in the 2016 semi-final will go down as one of the heartbreaking images in Indian cricket history.

4.5 years later, Kohli is in the midst of a lean patch (by his standards) and the onus lies on his teammates to rally around their skipper for one last time (in this format) and heal the scars of 2016.

Does India stand a chance, though? I'll be kidding if I say -"Naah, they don't stand a chance!" 

Of course, they do! When you have an artist like KL Rahul, who is at the peak of his powers at the moment, a proven performer like Rohit, the youthful exuberance of Pant, the versatility of SKY, the finishing prowess of Hardik and Jadeja, the mystery spin of Varun, the best fast bowler in the world in Bumrah, a freak of nature in Shardul, the experience of Bhuvneshwar, Shami and Ashwin, and of course, the King himself, Virat, how can you not be favorites?

The big issue for India though will be the 6th bowler. If Hardik doesn't bowl and Shardul isn't a part of the starting XI, it can hurt them badly on the big day.

If somehow, India can paper over this crack and hold their own in knockout games, then November 14 may well turn out to be the day when the 'King' finally seizes his legacy.

If they don't, then, well, it will be yet another vindication of the fact that "there are no fairy tales in sport".

Yash Mittal

Bharat Army Cricket Writer


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