3 Strategic errors Kohli needs to rectify to become invincible

Dpak Panda

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Virat Kohli, one of the best batsman in world cricket right now, has an envious record till now as the skipper of the Indian team. He took over from MS Dhoni, the only captain with all ICC trophies in his kitty, and thus had huge shoes to fill. Virat was fortunate in a sense that at the time he took over the captaincy, both in tests as well as limited overs, he had a team that was settled and had the experience of playing all over the world. And as expected, the transition happened quite smoothly, with Kohli leading from the front with the bat. 

Speaking of his records, Kohli has won 25 tests, the second most by an Indian after Dhoni, from 44 games. In ODIs, he has won 42 games, which is nearly 75%. Overall the records have been outstanding and there has been an increase in the number of wins outside the subcontinent. 

However, amidst all the highs, there have been certain drawbacks in his leading capabilities. The number of losses has been very low, but it is worrying that the reasons have been more or less same and that those issues have not yet been resolved. Moreover, there has never been a case where Kohli has admitted being tactically wrong in a defeat. 

Here we look at some strategic adjustments Kohli needs to make in his captaincy, some errors which he needs to rectify.

#3 Constant chopping and changing 

Kohli did not play the same playing XI in any two consecutive tests in his first 36 games as a captain. Everyone in the team except himself and Wriddhiman Saha got dropped at some point or other. The result was insecurities creeping in the minds of individuals, who started playing for their places in the team. 

Pujara changing his regular approach in the South Africa and England tours are an example. The rotation among Vijay, Dhawan and Rahul did not do great for their confidence. Rahane, Bhuvneshwar and Jadeja have all been victims of this policy over the last couple of years. 

Similar incidents have happened with the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul for the number 4 slot in ODI cricket. Bowlers like Kaul and Shami have been picked, only to be dropped after a couple of bad days. 

#2 Not having alternative plans 

Virat is different from his predecessor not only in his on-field attitude but also his strategies. While Dhoni was known for his out of the box thinking, Kohli has been more or less predictable as a captain, especially in limited overs. 

Virat's records suggest he has been very successful as a skipper, but at several occasions he has been found short of ideas when his plans do not work. Also, he stays adamant on his plans, even when the execution fails. The two losses in limited over games in South Africa showed how he did not have alternate plans when the main spinners were attacked. 

The under-utilisation of part-timers is also something Kohli has been guilty of. Considering the nature of pitches in England, depending on just five bowlers will be a huge risk. 

#1 Getting the combinations wrong

The three overseas tours this year have seen three defeats due to questionable team selections. Dropping Rahane, India's best batsman in the previous overseas leg, for Rohit on a seaming Capetown wicket, on the basis of limited overs form at home, proved to be a huge blunder. 

Dropping Pujara for Rahul at Birmingham was another such decision. And the selection of four pacers on a pitch where an Aussie spinner won the player of the match, was something which cost India the match. 

Virat Kohli's combinations have been questionable

The team combination has been a major factor of debate in the limited overs formats as well. India's top six do not bowl and the bottom four do not bat, something which has been one of the reasons for defeats in several games. Teams like England have been so successful because they have players with secondary skill sets. India, on the other hand, seem to miss that point while selecting their playing XI. 

These are three major strategic errors Kohli has been guilty of and for being an invincible captain, which he is capable of, he needs to rectify these mistakes at the earliest.