India v England, 4th Test, Nagpur, 5th day December 17, 2012

Kohli ready for Test captaincy - Gavaskar

ESPNcricinfo staff

Virat Kohli, the 24-year-old batsman, is ready to take over the India Test captaincy from MS Dhoni, according to former India captain Sunil Gavaskar. Gavaskar's comments came in wake of India's 2-1 Test series loss to England, their first at home in eight years.

Kohli's dogged century in Nagpur, which helped lift a wobbling India to within four runs of England's first-innings total, showed he was ready for the added responsibility, Gavaskar told NDTV. "Till the fourth day of the Nagpur Test, I would have backed Dhoni. Now that Virat has come up with a hundred under trying circumstances where he curbed his natural game, he discovered a good part about himself.

"He is ready to take on the mantle of Test cricket [captain]. That needs to be looked at in a positive manner by everyone concerned, as that is where the future lies."

India were looking to win in Nagpur to deny England their first Test series win in India in 28 years. Instead, England finished on a comfortable 352 for 4 on the final day and the Test ended in a draw. It was an impressive comeback from England: India had won the first Test of the series in Ahmedabad by nine wickets, before the visitors rallied and completely outplayed them in the next two. This series loss rounds off a poor 18 months in Test cricket for India, during which they were whitewashed in England and Australia.

In this must-win Test, after India's lower-order inexplicably batted at a slow pace on the fourth morning, they could take only three England wickets in 79 overs on the day. England went to stumps 165 ahead, and could still have been under pressure had India struck early on the final day. However, India managed only one wicket in the day, that too in the final session.

In view of their dire need to win, Gavaskar said, India should have been proactive. "India could not get enough wickets on day four. Also, they doodled around in the first hour on day four. If India had wanted to win the Test, they could have shown some intent by declaring on the overnight total [on day three] or by asking the tailenders to play slam-bang cricket.

"Yes, England batted well. But you do not position a forward-short leg or silly point to get a catch there; you do that to force a batsman to give a catch some place else. Trott or Bell might have done something stupid then. India could have attacked more. But that's not the only reason India lost. Our bowlers were by and large ineffective."

Gavaskar also hinted at some of the senior India players not valuing Test cricket enough. "Looking at the Jadeja's, the Kohli's … you can easily see there is recognition, an appreciation there for Test cricket. It is some of the guys who have been around, who have done well in the past that are being a bit casual about it over the last couple of years."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Michael Ponnudurai on December 20, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    Kohli swears when taking a catch, when his team bowler picks a wicket and even when he gets a century. If made captain, he will swear whether he wins or loses the toss and could be reprimanded by the referee. But Gavaskar perhaps thinks Kohli, that way, will be the best to captain and be the most apt representative of India

  • Srinivas on December 20, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    Gavaskar shouldn't and can't be taken seriously here. To suggest that a batsman who is just starting to find his feet, as a batsman, with the demands of international cricket is ready for the added demands of Captaincy is plain stupidity. There's no doubt in my mind that none from the triumvirate of Pujara, Kohli and Rahane should be made the Captain. Indian Captaincy is inherently linked to endorsement monies and so it's obvious that the establishment will be wanting a longterm Captain. But hey, sorry there's none now and BCCI have to control their greed for once, for the timebeing. So, just go with what you have and whom we can afford to sacrifice in the long run - Sehwag or Gambhir. Make one of them the Captain, put them on notice and that's it. Let them fail or succeed. It's not our problem. In the mean time, Kohli and Pujara will get more matured as international cricketers and then we can give one of them the Captaincy in an year's time. Not now. Not at all.

  • Matrix on December 20, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    When will Indians realize individual centuries dont win matches. Its the partnerships that win matches. I think Gavaskar should reflect on his own retiremenmt from cricket commentary since its so boring and stale. That's the reason for this "sensational idea" from him.

  • Nabil on December 19, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    lmao panic in indian because they lost one home series...no1 saw this coming? I mean even WI gave them abit of a rough time in India although india still won...England is a way better side than WI

  • KUMARAVEL on December 19, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    Gavaskar is the main reason for India's "century mentatlity". Hit one century and all your past failures will be forgotten at the drop of a hat.Like Dravid, I see no alternative to Dhoni at present and that it not to say he is doing his best or he does not have the resources to do so.

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    I disagree with Mr.Gavaskar. Just because Kohli scored one century in testing times, one cannot forget that he has failed miserably in all the other tests of the series. He has played just about 8-10 tests and has a long way to go before he can establish himself as a good test player. He has not toured all the test playing nations yet. It is premature to even think of placing a huge burden on him that could potentially affect his batting. Let him play as a batsman for a while more before he is ready. He is still learning the art of batting against quality teams.

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    Was that sunil Gavaskar? or some other Gavaskars...Cant believe it He is not even performing well in test cricket & U want him as our captain!!!!!!!! Perhaps Gavaskar is more interested in IPL now

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    I agree with Gavaskar's comments. The team didi not perform as a team and the seniors did not bat as was required. Even Kholi played a stupid shot toget out LBW and Dhoni should not have taken that suicide short run when he was run out. I also agree that they could have decleared earlier since they batted so slow. They did not attempt to force a win inany circumstances.

  • Balaji on December 19, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    Cant understand why there cant be transition of replacing non performing TV / media experts ? fed up of listening to the same things being told by Gavaskar,shastri & co.

    They dont have courage or conviction to talk anything against the board nor their favorite tendulkar.

    Just as Indian team needs fresh legs & ideas . Even commentary needs fresh voices good at least dravid & ganguly are there as relief.

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    even MSD has it 99 runs.......jus 4 runs short of kohli.........which doesnt mean tht dhoni hav to quit only fr one run......MSD shuld be d captain probably for d next couple of seasons..

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