Virat Kohli has been phenomenal despite outside noise: Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid, the head coach of the Indian cricket team, on Sunday, lavished praise on Test captain Virat Kohli for being unscathed from the outside noise. Dravid highlighted the same after chief selector Chetan Sharma's statement on Kohli gave rise to fresh controversies. Earlier this week, the latter revealed that Kohli was asked to reconsider his decision to step down as India's T20I captain.
"I know there's been a lot of noise on other issues a little bit, but honestly, in terms of keeping the morale high, it's not been very difficult Virat has been absolutely phenomenal over the last sort of 20 days, the way he's trained, the way he's practiced, the way he's connected with the group," Dravid said on the eve of Johannesburg Test.
Kohli has been involved in controversies after leaving India's T20I captaincy. In December, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly revealed the board had urged Kohli to continue as T20I captain. However, the latter had denied the same, stating his decision was "received well". Adding on to Ganguly's claims, Chetan Sharma, on Friday, informed the media that "everyone had asked Kohli to reconsider his decision".
As speculations regarding the T20I captaincy were rife, Kohli highlighted how he was removed as the ODI skipper. The selectors informed him about the same 90 minutes before they met to pick India's squad for SA Tests. "When you're in the middle of the series, you can't always say such things. You decide only when the selectors start thinking about that format," Chetan said.
"We're looking to prepare well and get the team into a really good space. Virat has been phenomenal in that, the way he's led the team, he's been absolutely, truly a leader, and I couldn't speak more highly about him," added Dravid.
As far as Kohli's batting is concerned, he hasn't been at his best of late. Kohli hasn't scored an international ton in over two years (more than 50 innings). However, Dravid backed him, stating, "Even though he batted well and couldn't convert those starts, I really feel there's going to be a big run of really good scores coming in from someone like him."
Kohli scored 35 and 18 in the two innings in Centurion. Like in 2020, the Indian skipper finished 2021 without an international ton. Since his last century (November 2019), he has scored 2,078 runs from 52 international games at an average of 39.20.
Kohli led India to a 113-run victory in Centurion. He became the first Indian captain to win two Tests in South Africa. Kohli could now be the only Indian captain to win a Test series in the nation. Before him, Dravid and MS Dhoni won a Test each here. Kohli could also emulate the legendary Steve Waugh in terms of Test wins (41).