Virat Kohli is exceptionally open to ideas and relies on his intuition as captain, feels Daniel Vettori. Vettori, the bespectacled spin great and former New Zealand captain, has worked with Kohli for six seasons as player and coach at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). India and RCB skipper Kohli failed to take the IPL franchise to the playoffs once again this time as the team finished rock-bottom in the ten-team points table. “When I used to speak to him or any other coaches (used to) speak to him, there’s always a conversation around what you think is best, where can this work,” Vettori was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo’s Talking T20 podcast.
“It wouldn’t always be a numbers-driven conversation, it would be around some intuition and understanding of the game. I think, ultimately, when you sold a compelling story to Virat, he was always on board, open to listening and that made him such a good captain,” Vettori said. “For me, I think there’s such a strong correlation between thorough planning and the use of data to performance. I think it’s so important because I think cricket, in general, is quite immature in terms of its exposure to this and…the sport I like is baseball, and I think they use it as strongly as anyone. The thing they have in their favour is huge sample sizes, and the thing that I always battled with (as a coach) was ‘(you say), here’s a plan’ and then go back to how many times it’s worked. ‘Oh, it’s worked four times’. And four times doesn’t seem like a lot to base things on. I think that’s what [the challenge is]. When you’re presenting to the captain or the owner or the rest of the coaches, you want to be overwhelming with it.
“And I know that with baseball, and a lot of the sites that I follow, they want 500 instances of that to happen before they can sort of guarantee a prediction that they can rely on. And when you’re dealing with David Warner facing Yuzvendra Chahal, [say], 33 times over the course of his career, and then you make a prediction from that, I think that’s the thing they have, but that’s only gonna grow. So, while we’re in these infant stages, I think it’s hard for people to get their heads around [analytics]. But, the people who are gonna buy into this first, get their heads around it, I think they’ll get the jump-start on everyone,” the 40-year old left-arm spinner explained.
Vettori was part of both RCB sides which finished runners-up in 2011 (as captain) and 2016 (as coach), apart from a run to the playoffs in 2015. There has been talking surrounding Kohli’s leadership in the aftermath of RCB’s dismal showing this season. The 30-year-old, regarded as the best batsman of his generation, will lead India in the upcoming World Cup next month in England and Wales.