“Ajinkya Rahane can be a good captain, but Virat Kohli’s record is phenomenal” – Manoj Tiwary on India captaincy debate

Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli.

Virat Kohli is the fifth-most successful Test captain.

India cricketer Manoj Tiwary is impressed with Ajinkya Rahane’s leadership skills but believes the Indian vice-captain needs to be more consistent as a batsman. The Bengal cricketer also went on to hail Virat Kohli’s captaincy record as “phenomenal”.

Manoj Tiwary further dismissed the notion of how Ajinkya Rahane’s calmness resulted in a good showing in Australia, where he won two Tests in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli.

In an exclusive interview with journalist Indranil Basu for SK Live, Manoj Tiwary said:

“Whatever little I saw in Australia, Ajinkya Rahane was very good. He made the bowling changes quite well. You don’t need to be a quiet guy to be a good captain; you can be expressive too. The difference is in their style. Rahane’s captaincy style is very different from what we see from Virat Kohli.

“If allowed to lead India, I am sure Rahane will do a good job. I don’t know when that time will come. He has to score consistently to keep away the talks of him getting dropped from the Test side.”

Ajinkya Rahane averages 27.69 since the 2020 New Zealand tour. His average drops to 20.66 if we exclude his match-defining hundred in Melbourne. The numbers clearly do not favor Rahane, the batsman.

The defeat in the Chennai Test against England marked India’s fourth consecutive Test defeat under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, which has sparked debate – whether Ajinkya Rahane should be handed over the reins.

In the absence of Kohli, Rahane led a depleted Indian side to a historic win in Australia last month.

However, Kohli has numbers to support him. With 33 Test wins, Virat Kohli stands only behind Graeme Smith (53), Ricky Ponting (48), Steve Waugh (41) and Clive Lloyd (36) in terms of most victories as Test captain. His success rate of 57.89% is only behind Steve Waugh’s 71.92% and Ponting’s 62.33%.

Manoj Tiwary, who has led Bengal at various levels and also India A, has known Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane from close quarters. Commenting on the topic of the Indian captaincy, Tiwary stated Kohli’s excellent numbers as a Test captain and how his aggression has a positive effect on the side.

“As far as his (Virat Kohli’s) aggression is concerned, it does help the team and pumps the others as well, especially when the crowd is present. But having said that, the recent defeats under him make you feel that he could have done a few things differently. Then again, when you look at his record, it’s phenomenal. As a captain, he has an incredible win percentage.

“At the end of the day, a captain is as good as his team. If your teammates are doing well, then the job gets easier, and when the plans are falling apart, you feel the pressure.

“As far as Rahane is concerned, he did mention that Virat is the captain of the team. He did the right thing. We should not have a controversy within the team. The team knows that Virat Kohli is the captain of the side and when he isn’t around, it’s Rahane,” added Manoj Tiwary, who represented India between 2008 and 2015.

Another defeat in the ongoing Test series against England will see the inaugural World Test Championship doors shut on India.

Virat Kohli, in his four years as India’s limited-overs captain has not managed to win an ICC tournament. Even as captain for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), he hasn’t achieved an IPL shield.

On the other hand, Rohit Sharma, India’s vice-captain for ODIs and Tests, has won five IPL trophies as captain and has led India to a win at the 2018 Asia Cup. This has sparked another debate to which Tiwary commented:

“In the shorter formats, what will matter are the results. When they get inconsistent, people will raise questions. What selectors, BCCI and administrators think is the bottom-line.”

Under Virat Kohli, India have lost two of their three ODI series in 2020. However, India had convincing wins in the two T20I series that they played last year.

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