With so much speculation about Dhoni skipping the Asia Cup and the peripheral talks about fixing in the IPL, I thought Kohli did a fine job in the Asia Cup game, even if it was only against Bangladesh, with a match-winning century.
There is little doubt that Kohli has the necessary attributes of a cricket team captain and by the looks of it, he is fast maturing into a fine player too. And if he is able to rein in his aggression just a bit, then he has the potential to become one of the better captains India has had. It is early days yet, but the signs are good.
It is always uplifting to see young faces and those with fresh ideas and approach like Kohli. In fact, I doubt if Dhoni would be missed at all in the Asia Cup, even granting that it is not a major competition in terms of global appeal.
Kohli marshaled his resources well and handled the bowlers with some thought. However, the Indians still allowed one run too many to Bangladesh, but after the pounding we received in New Zealand, any victory against any country is welcome.
It remains to be seen whether Kohli’s Indians will be able to sustain not just the individual and collective form, but also the momentum to go all the way as the key games against Pakistan and Sri Lanka are yet to be played. If anything, Kohli will find himself under the microscope as he undoubtedly is Dhoni’s successor.
Having said that, one can only hope that Kohli is given some space and spared of hype during this critical period of his transformation from being just another player to a somebody. He has been atop the pedestal with so much praise being heaped on him, not to forget needless comparisons with players like Sachin. The point is that it will help Kohli’s and India’s cause if he is left alone for the moment so that he can grow into a formidable player.
I suspect that Kohli, despite his captaincy ability, will have to bide his time to take over completely from Dhoni who will no doubt be leading India in next year’s World Cup despite there being calls for his sacking or demands that he step down in the wake of recent failures abroad.
Never mind his critics, but the selectors are unlikely to disturb Dhoni by taking such an extreme step of removing him from the captaincy. For all his cricketing faults and being castigated for the “defensive” approach against the Kiwis, I feel that Dhoni is struggling to cope with the constant pressure contrary to his “captain cool” tag. As I mentioned in my previous column, I suppose a break from the game, if only for a fortnight or so, will help Dhoni to come back a refreshed man.
I am not sure whether we need to look too deeply into him sitting out the Asia Cup, a move that coincided with a fresh IPL fixing tsunami. The findings of the Mudgal committee are no doubt damning with a needle of suspicion pointing on Dhoni, but unless there is concrete evidence, it is best to avoid speculation.
It is no surprise that IPL is forever under the cloud and I suspect, the environment will not improve with the likelihood of part of this year’s tournament being played abroad, possibly South Africa where the fixing scandal originated from all those years ago via the “Cronjegate”. The more money ploughed into IPL, the more the suspicion and speculation where virtually every game, every dismissal, every boundary or a six triggers skepticism rather than appreciation.
Whatever, IPL will have to live with the stigma of corruption and allegations of money laundering, for these charges cannot be wished away despite the stoicism of the BCCI and those running the T20 bash. However, it will take a lot to convince me that IPL is doomed and will be totally rid of the bookies.
After all, it is in human nature to exploit every opportunity to make a fast buck by hook or by crook, and IPL seems to be just another avenue to make some money on the side.