Former Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif has opined that Sourav Ganguly was a classic leader who would back his players to the hilt, which isn’t the case with Virat Kohli. He also added that if a player isn’t backed properly, it leads to fears and doubts in his mind, which doesn’t bode well.
Virat Kohli is arguably one of India’s greatest skippers of all time. Under his able leadership, India have emerged as a force to reckon with across formats. However, there have been criticisms for him too, with his tactical nous and team selection often getting called out. When India failed to win the 2019 World Cup, the way they played musical chairs with middle-order slots had turned into a major bone of contention.
When it comes to backing players, Sourav Ganguly has a rich history as testified by several stars from his captaincy tenure. Talking about Virat Kohli’s style of captaincy, Mohammad Kaif stated that he doesn’t back players as much as Ganguly used to back in the days.
“When I was captain for many years, I have captained several young players. So, in the long term, the security of a player’s place in the team is what mattered. Things like ‘go on, play. You will get 4-5 opportunities; I am behind you’. Basically, what Ganguly used to do with us. That is the classic way of handling. That is what a leader does. But that is not Virat Kohli’s method,” Kaif told Sports Tak, reported HT.
He added that Ganguly made good use of the talent pool that India had in the 2000s. He also reckons if a player isn’t backed, it creates seeds of doubt in his mind, which doesn’t bode well for the team.
“Back then, when we speak about Ganguly, he didn’t have so many options. We didn’t have the IPL back then. There were fewer distractions. He had the same pool of 20-25 players and he had to pick out of them to play and support. So Ganguly knew that. He too had seen that if a player is not backed, not given opportunities, a player is not able to give his best performance. He has a feeling of doubt and fear in his mind,” Kaif explained.
India last played in the WTC final against New Zealand, which marked their third loss in the knockouts of ICC mega-events under Virat Kohli. The test side will now clash with England in the five-match series from August 4.