Mohammad Kaif questioned the exclusion of the Delhi Capitals skipper from the first T20I against Australia. He highlighted that the middle-order batsman proved his credentials as a No. 4 batsman both in the IPL and in the series against New Zealand earlier this year.
“Shreyas Iyer had become your main player at one point. That he is your No.4 batsman, who finishes the game. Whether you talk about the IPL or go back to the New Zealand series, there also he finished games at No.4. He scored 50 not out or 33 not out, he was playing well at the No.4 position.”
The former middle-order batsman observed that he is not surprised about Shreyas Iyer not being a part of the first T20I, as such selections have been the norm in Virat Kohli’s reign as the skipper.
“He had two or three bad innings in the ODI, so they didn’t play him in the first T20I. This is the culture of the Indian team and we have all understood that. I am not surprised that he is dropped.”
He added that the Indian players are aware that they will get only a couple of chances to prove their mettle as long as Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri are at the helm of affairs.
“This is the sort of thinking of Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri and the players are also understanding that. The players also know that they will get just two innings, this is the sort of team it is.”
Mohammad Kaif recalled that Sourav Ganguly had a different style of captaincy where he backed the players to the hilt.
“When we used to play with Dada, it was not like this. In Dada’s time you knew that if he has picked one player, he will play him till the time he feels he will deliver. He backed the players a lot.”
The Delhi Capitals assistant coach pointed out that Virat Kohli will have to work towards leaving behind a legacy once he calls it a day.
“That is why Virat Kohli will have to think in the coming time to leave his legacy as a captain. Why we talk about Dada or why does Virender Sehwag talk about Dada? Because Dada has made that impact. Sourav Ganguly has backed us, he made a team.”
He added that there should be players in the Indian team who should credit Virat Kohli for making them successful international cricketers.
“So, when Virat Kohli leaves after 8-10 years, there should be players who take Virat Kohli’s name that because of him they started playing international cricket and became such big players.”
Mohammad Kaif signed off by stating that although Virat Kohli is a great player, he needs to develop the next generation of cricketers to be considered a top leader.
“He has already become a great player by scoring runs but to become a great leader, he needs to think about developing players. Kohli needs to leave behind that legacy.”
The lack of backing given to players in Virat Kohli’s era has come in for repeated criticism from many experts of the game. The constant chopping and changing adversely impacts the confidence of the players, while also making them insecure about their positions in the team.