Former England captain Nasser Hussain heaped huge praise on Virat Kohli and claims he is still a god-like figure in India. Kohli missed the last three Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as Rahane took over the charge and led Team India to a historic series-win Down Under. Several cricket critics suggested Rahane permanently lead Team India in red-ball cricket after his impressive show in Australia. Also Read - India vs England, Motera Pitch Controversy: Rohit Sharma Claims Batsmen Committed Mistakes
Hussain said Kohli is still the main man in Indian cricket and will be very much in charge in the opening Test against England. Also Read - Anil Kumble Would Have Taken 1000 Wickets on Such Pitches: Yuvraj Singh
“Virat Kohli is still the main man, make no mistake. He is still that god-like figure in India, let alone Indian cricket, and he will be very much in charge for Friday’s first Test against England, Hussain wrote in his column in Daily Mail. Also Read - IND vs ENG: Ravichandran Ashwin Anointed 'Modern-Day Legend' After Record-Equalling Feat
“All the 2-1 win over Australia did was give India another option as captain if things do not go according to plan, because Ajinkya Rahane did exceptionally well-taking charge of the last three Tests while Kohli was on paternity leave.”
However, Hussain feels Rahane’s record in Australia series might add a pressure on Kohli who will be returning from the paternity leave.
“That was one of the greatest wins in India’s history and Rahane, with his calm captaincy style, would have taken a lot of credit. So that might add a bit of pressure to the returning Kohli,” Hussain wrote in his column.
The former England captain claims Kohli played an important part in India’s historic win in Australia as he created a culture within the team.
“A lot of Kohli’s passion was there in his absence in Australia. India would not be bullied. They would not be beaten by that first Test humiliation and they would not stand down when one of their players, Mohammed Siraj, was racially abused in Sydney.
“Just because Kohli wasn’t captain at the time, it doesn’t mean the culture he has created was missing. He more than anyone is responsible for the modern India attitude on the field to match their power off it. They have a swagger,” Hussain wrote.
Hussain further said that if England managed to pull off a victory in Chennai then the questions will be raised on Kohli’s captaincy.
“What I would say is something that was unthinkable just a couple of months ago — Kohli one day being replaced as captain is a possibility now. And if the first Test in Chennai doesn’t go well for India — and that’s a massive ‘if’ — the whole country will be asking whether Rahane should have stayed in charge.
“That’s why England must start well. If India bully them in this first Test and go 1-0 up, everything will be forgotten and Kohli will be the king again.
“But if Joe Root can put some doubt in India minds, then this series could suddenly become very interesting,” Kohli said.