“Need to have faith in your star players to leave a captain’s legacy”- Mohammed Kaif’s message to Virat Kohli

Team India’s Limited-Overs leg of the Australian tour has been a rather hot-and-cold journey thus far. After the heartbreaks of the first 2 ODI games, the Virat Kohli-led side did well to win the last ODI and the first T20I convincingly.

But things are far from perfect, as the team combination(s) still appear somewhat unsettled. The last T20I match saw Shreyas Iyer and Yuzvendra Chahal- two regulars in the incumbent national team- being left out of the playing XI. Iyer’s exclusion, in particular, has reopened the controversial, number-4 batsman debate for the team. 

Former India batsman Mohammed Kaif recently weighed in his opinions on the subject. Over on a recent interaction with Sony Sports Network, the Delhi Capitals’ (DC) assistant coach criticized Kohli for dropping Iyer. Kaif reasoned that the DC skipper’s stats in the recently concluded IPL, and earlier in this year’s New Zealand tour made a compelling case for him to get a longer rope in the side.

“Shreyas is your main batter, can’t drop him”- Kaif

“Shreyas Iyer had become your main player at one point. That he is your No.4 batsman, who finishes the game. Whether you talk about the IPL or go back to the New Zealand series, there also he finished games at No.4. He scored 50 not out or 33 not out, he was playing well at the No.4 position,” Kaif explained. 

He further lambasted Kohli and India head-coach Ravi Shastri for promoting a horses-for-courses culture in the team. “Shreyas only had two or three bad innings in the ODI, so they didn’t play him in the first T20I. This is the culture of the Indian team and we have all understood that. I am not surprised that he is dropped. This is the sort of thinking of Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri have; even the players are starting to understand that now. They know that they will get just two to three innings, max. That’s how the team’s mentality is.”

Kaif reckons that such a short-sighted leadership approach won’t help Kohli in leaving behind a legacy for the future. He further compared Kohli to Sourav Ganguly and confessed that the latter invested a lot more faith in his teammates, which was essential in developing match-winners. 

“Dada had more faith in players; that’s what made him an all-time legend”

“When we used to play with Dada (Sourav), it was not like this. In Dada’s time you knew that if he has picked one player, he will play him till the time he feels he will deliver. He backed the players a lot.

“That is why Virat Kohli will have to think in the coming time to leave his legacy as a captain. Why we talk about Dada or why does Virender Sehwag talk about Dada? Because Dada has made that impact. Sourav Ganguly has backed us, he made a team. So that’s something Virat should imbibe. Run-scoring alone won’t make him a legend once he stops playing,” Kaif concluded.

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