Virat Kohli is the backbone of the Indian batting line-up. He holds plenty of records as a batsman and has many more to achieve in his career. Surely, he is one of the all times greatest batsmen with over 12,000 runs in ODIs and overall more than 22,000 in international cricket.
As a captain, he is the most successful Indian test captain ever by numbers. He has led the Indian team to three consecutive ICC tournaments’ knockouts. His bold decisions as captain have brought glory to the Indian team on numerous occasions.
Here we will look at the top 5 master-strokes by Captain Kohli which earned India success at the international level.
1) Selecting Bumrah for Test cricket
Bumrah made his debut in 2016 in Australia. He was known for his brilliant yorkers and was considered as a white-ball specialist. He wasn’t preferred for test matches as it was expected that weird, yet unique, action would make him injury prone in the longer format of the game.
But Kohli had faith in the pacer and chose him for test matches in South Africa in 2018. Bumrah did not disappoint his captain as he went on to take fifer in his first test series. Later, he became the only Asian to take fifers in South Africa, West Indies, Australia, and England. Overall, he has picked up 83 wickets in just 20 test matches.
2) Picking Yuzvendra Chahal to replace Ashwin
Ashwin had a dry run during the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 which led to his axing from the Indian team in the limited-overs format. As a replacement, Virat Kohli chose Yuzvendra Chahal, his IPL teammate, to fill the void.
Yuzi stood up to the expectations and became a vital member of the Indian setup. He picked a lot of wickets, bowling with Kuldeep Yadav in tandem. Chahal is India’s most successful T20 bowler with 62 scalps in the format.
3) Introducing Yo-Yo Test
We all know Virat Kohli is a fitness freak. He passed on his aim to be the fittest to his teammates as well. If India is one of the fittest teams in the world, it is Kohli who should be credited for the achievement.
The yo-yo test, often called the beep test, was introduced in the Indian team in 2017.
The test demands players to achieve a minimum score to pass the test. Every player has to pass the test to be considered for selection in the Indian team.
4) Backing Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj was picked up by the RCB in the 2018 auction. The youngster didn’t have a great season with the team in 2018. In 2019 as well, he had to sit out of the XI on most occasions. But Siraj came back strong in the 2020 IPL season in the UAE. He earned a call-up in the Indian test team as well and impressed everyone in his very first game in Sydney.
Siraj has received major backing from the Indian skipper throughout his journey. Virat always believed that Siraj could get any batsman out on any pitch. Siraj paid off to his captain’s trust with his superb performances.
5) Utilizing Rohit Sharma as an opener in test matches
Rohit started opening for India in 2013 after MS Dhoni promoted him in the batting order. Rohit grabbed the opportunity with both hands and went on to become one of the greatest openers in ODIs and T20Is.
In test cricket, Rohit batted primarily in the middle order and had a start-stop career there.
He started his Test career with a bang against West Indies but failed to perform consistently. Virat Kohli decided on using Sharma as an opener in Test cricket during South Africa’s tour of India in 2019.
Rohit made the most out of the opportunity as he scored a hundred in his very first innings as an opener. Today, he is the first choice opener for India in Test cricket as well.