Virat Kohli ticks another box after captaincy audition in Zimbabwe
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India's series against Zimbabwe was, I'm afraid, a cry for help. Zimbabwe have been feisty in the past but now you pity them. Their cricketers have been, figuratively, beaten and bruised, they have been denied amenities and now, self-respect. Much like the land, its cricket has been abused and even though many fine players and proud cricketers have emerged from there, they no longer will because a fight without resources can only accomplish that much. Sadly by the time they take the field they no longer possess the weapons to compete. It needn't have been like this and Zimbabwe cricket is an illustration of the worries deeper than DRS in our game.
And so as a cricketing contest, India vs Zimbabwe was forgettable. At times like these you look beyond the scorecard and I found myself following Virat Kohli, not as much his batting as his audition for captaincy. Having said that, a word on his batting. When players drop a level below the one they should really be playing at, they must look invincible, they must look they belong elsewhere. Kohli did and until he recused himself from the batting order, it had seemed an unequal contest and in a peculiar way therefore, his reputation actually grew!
I liked the fact that he opted not to bat in the last two games. There was talk about a few records down the road, about becoming the fastest to get to a landmark and while those are good and praiseworthy India were in Zimbabwe for another reason. I liked too the fact that batsmen who were picked were given a number that did them some justice. Far too often players are picked, get an appearance against their name but not the opportunity they seek.
Here, Ambati Rayudu, so long in the wilderness and a talent in danger of being enveloped by rust, was sent at number four. It could easily have been Dinesh Karthik or Suresh Raina but Kohli, or maybe Duncan Fletcher, realised they needed to do justice to the man picked. It was a generous move.