Ricky Ponting has been one of the best leaders in history of cricket. The stylish right-hander was at the helm of one of the most dominant teams to have ever played the game, winning everything that was on offer. So, when Ponting speaks about captaincy most people sit up and listen. In an exclusive with icc-cricket.com, the former Australian skipper spoke about Virat Kohli’s time as India captain and the impact he had on Indian cricket as a leader. The Australian also expressed his shock over Virat Kohli’s sudden decision to step down as Test captain following the series defeat in South Africa.
Ponting said that he was “really surprised” by Kohli’s decision to walk away from Test captaincy, given the conversation he had with the Indian star during first part of IPL 2021 — before it was postponed.
“Yes, it did actually (surprise me),” Ponting was quoted as saying on icc-cricket.com.
“Probably the main reason why is I had a chat and good catch-up with Virat during the first part of the IPL (2021) before it got postponed.
“He was talking then about stepping away (from captaincy) from white-ball cricket and how passionate he was to continue on to be Test match captain. He just loved and cherished that job and that post so much. Obviously, the Indian Test team had achieved a lot under his leadership. When I heard it, I was really, really surprised.”
“I was shocked, but then I started thinking about other things, even my own time as captain. I have gone on record and said that I probably think I played a couple of years longer than I should have in hindsight. I think I might have been captain for a couple of years longer than I should have,” the former Aussie skipper added.
The Australian also said that India “probably” is the most difficult team to captain due to the popularity and the following of the sport in the country.
“So I think there is potentially a shelf-life for international cricket captains and even coaches. Virat’s been there for close to seven years now. If there’s a country in the world that’s the most difficult to captain, it’s probably India because of just how popular the game is and how much every single Indian loves to see the fortunes of the Indian cricket team, whether they are good or bad. You weigh all those things up.”
With 40 wins in 68 Test matches, Virat Kohli was India’s most successful captain in the longest format, also leading the team to the top of the ICC rankings, a spot which the team held for 42 consecutive months between October 2016 to March 2020.
Ponting was all praise for Kohli and his achievements as captain of the Indian team.
“If you think about India before Virat, it was about winning a lot of games at home and not winning quite as many overseas. The thing that improved the most was India winning a few more games overseas, and that’s something that he and all of the Indian cricket have to be really proud of.
“The other thing is there was really was a real focus placed on Test cricket by the BCCI when Virat took over, and I think a lot of it has come from him as well – to focus more on Test cricket and winning more games home and away,” said the Australian.
“Given his Test record as captain, he can walk away from the role very, very proud of what he has achieved.”
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