“Like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli knows when to quit India captaincy” – Kiran More

Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli (Photo: Twitter)

Former India chairman of selectors Kiran More has opined on the raging debate over the Indian captaincy after Virat Kohli lost four Tests in a row as captain. Throwing his weight behind Virat Kohli, the former India stumper stated that it’s not the right time for the captaincy debate and, like MS Dhoni, a mature Kohli knows when to call quits.

India lost their first Test at home in four years after Joe Root-led England hammered them by 227 runs in the first match of the four-Test series in Chennai on Tuesday. Under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, India lost back-to-back Tests in New Zealand last year and then the Adelaide Test against Australia.

Critics of Virat Kohli’s captaincy found their voice after the Indian captain left Australia on paternity leave and Ajinkya Rahane took charge, winning two out of the remaining three Tests to script history.

In an exclusive interview with journalist Indranil Basu for SK Live, Kiran More backed Virat Kohli to continue leading, and hopes India will make a strong comeback in the series.

“Virat Kohli is our no.1 player. He’s the best. It’s too early to debate on the captaincy. Virat is known for his honesty. He’s a guy who knows when to go (from captaincy) just like MS Dhoni did. India did well in Australia this time. They did well there under Virat Kohli as well.

“All the energies should go into planning for winning the next Test. I feel India will come back strong. We have now played one Test in these conditions (after a long tour in Australia) and our bowlers will bowl better here. Even our batters will be better at countering James Anderson, Jofra Archer and others,” said Kiran More, who played 49 Tests and 94 ODIs for India between 1984 and 1993.

India’s last Test defeat at home came against Australia in February 2017 in Pune. Like the Chennai Test, that match was also the series opener. India went on to win the series 2-1.

The defeat against England in Chennai has now jeopardized India’s chances in the ICC World Test Championship standings. From top position, India have now slipped to fourth spot. India will have to win at least 2-1 to be able to qualify for the tournament final at Lord’s in June this year.

Kiran More warned that if India lose the next Test, the side will be under tremendous pressure and there will be a debate over Virat Kohli’s captaincy.

“No captain doesn’t like to lose Tests. Having lost a few Tests (four in a row), there will be some pressure on Virat Kohli. He will definitely be thinking about it. For me, I wouldn’t think about the Indian captaincy at the moment. If we lose the next Test, there will be a lot of pressure on us. Then there can be the debate about the captaincy,” Kiran More added.

England were the last side to beat India in a series at home. Led by Alastair Cook, England won 2-1 in the 2012-13 series. Joe Root debuted in the fourth Test of the series.

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