India head coach Rahul Dravid has showered praise on captain Virat Kohli, saying that he has been ‘phenomenal’ in the way he has captained the Test team. Dravid also hoped that Kohli will soon get into a big run-making spree.
Kohli hasn’t scored a century in international cricket since November 2019 and 2022 could be the year of the Test captain breaking his lean patch. Before he left for South Africa, Kohli had contradicted BCCI President Sourav Ganguly’s words on leaving T20I captaincy and lack of communication in removal as ODI captain.
“I know there has been a lot of noise on other issues. A little bit outside of the group even leading to this particular Test match. But honestly, in terms of keeping the morale high, it’s not been very difficult because, to be honest, it has been led by the skipper himself. I think Virat has been absolutely phenomenal over the last 20 days that we have been here,” said Dravid in the pre-match press conference ahead of the second Test starting from Monday.
Speaking further on Kohli’s leadership, Dravid remarked, “I think the way he has trained, the way he has practiced, the way he has connected with the group. As a coach, leading into the series there isn’t really too much you can do once the game starts. There is not too much control into the results but what you are really looking to do is, as support staff, is to prepare well and get the team into a really good space.”
“Virat has been phenomenal in the way he has led the team. He has been absolutely truly a leader. I couldn’t speak more highly about him in the way he does his own preparation, practice, and also just the way he is connected with the group over the last two weeks on and off the field. He has truly been a fantastic leader and a really good captain. That’s helped in creating a good space for the first Test match. A lot of that has been led by Virat and his leadership really came to the fore.”
Dravid called working alongside ‘Kohli’a pleasure’ and felt big runs from his bat will come soon. “It’s a pleasure to work with someone like Virat. He has been a phenomenal leader. Personally, he is in a really good space. Even though he has got those starts but hasn’t been able to convert it, I feel there is a run of really big runs from someone like him.”
“Observing around how relaxed, calm and how he is practising, how much switched on he is. I really hope it happens in the next game. But with someone like him, we are going to see a really big run of scores once that clicks in place. He’s really led the way and I couldn’t speak more highly of him. He’s been a real credit to himself and Indian cricket with the last two weeks despite all that’s happening around him.”
Dravid signed off by saying that one can expect Kohli to attend the pre-match press conference ahead of his 100th Test match to be played in Cape Town next week. “Nothing like that. I was told Virat is just being held back from press conferences for now because he has his 100th Test coming up in Cape Town. If he addresses the press then, it can be a big event.”
“The reporters can ask him questions about his 100th Test then. You can celebrate with him then. As far as I know, there is no other reason he is not here. It’s not like he has not been speaking. He is very involved in the game, and in between the games, he has interviews during the Test, toss, and all that. He will speak to the media before his 100th Test.”