The Indian Cricket fan has consumed enormous amounts of cricket in the last home season. The irony of this fact is that most of the cricket played has been Test cricket! Why is that ironic, you say? To sum it up in a single statement, let me ask you – the Indian Cricket Fan a question.
Do you recall the Adelaide Test in 2014 – Kohli’s first Test as the Indian Test Captain? Albeit the end result was a loss but it caught the attention of one-and-all; attempting the impossible and going all out for the win were some of the qualities of Captain Kohli right from Day 1. The fighting loss in the Adelaide Test was a peak into the future. The future of the Indian juggernaut that Kohli was building in Test cricket, the future of Team India.
They often say that numbers don’t tell the entire story, however for Kohli, they do tell most of the story. The highest win percentage – 61.53% as an Indian captain and the lowest win percentage 11.53% ever. 16 wins in 26 Test matches putting him only behind Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni in the list of successful Indian captains. In short, Kohli is the real deal and the numbers agree.
The success and rise of Indian Test cricket back to the top has been the natural outcome of Kohli’s amazing 2016. However, Indian cricket owes a lot more to Virat Kohli than what meets the eye.
During the previous regime, India was often labelled as home bullies. A label that had a lot of substance to it considering the repeated failures in Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand. It had reached to a point when the Indian cricket fan fed his hunger for the game waiting for the next ODI series or even worse, the IPL. Test cricket became a product consumed by a niche audience. Until the Adelaide Test in December 2014 that changed it all.
Brash, aggressive and outspoken – Kohli is exactly what Test cricket required to be consumed by mainstream cricket fans once again. He makes the headlines on a regular basis with his feats on and off the pitch. And it’s not all talk because he backs it all up in the field. Test cricket was often seen as a game for the cricketing purist and that’s exactly the perception that Kohli has shattered. We probably won’t realise it now. I know I still haven’t grasped this idea entirely but it is something I’ve accepted with conviction.
Virat Kohli has saved Test cricket in India.