The Indian team has been lucky over the years to be blessed with captains like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni. The current skipper, Virat Kohli, has taken this legacy to another level.
Among those who have led India for a substantial number of matches, Kohli has the highest win percentage across formats. With a win percentage of 60 and 79.16 in Tests and ODIs respectively, Kohli is on his way to becoming the most successful Indian captain of all time.
Another beauty of this team is that when the full-time captain is unavailable due to injury or otherwise, the stand-in captain effortlessly takes his place and pushes the team over the line.
Here are three instances when Virat shared trophies with other captains in recent times.
#3 With MS Dhoni
It was 2013 and MS Dhoni was India's undisputed captain. After India lost their first match of the tri-series (West Indies and Sri Lanka were the other two teams) by one wicket, Dhoni was ruled out from the following games due to a hamstring injury. Virat Kohli was made the captain in Dhoni's absence and he lived up to the expectations, leading India to the final of the tri-series.
Dhoni returned in the final wherein the Indian middle order collapsed while chasing a target of 202. He played out the overs of Mathews and Malinga without scoring much off them and it was only in the last over that Dhoni cut loose to muscle India to a victory, clubbing a four and a six off Shaminda Eranga.
After Arun Lal gave MSD the trophy in the post-match presentation, Dhoni called Kohli to pose with it.
#2 With Ajinkya Rahane
The four-match Border-Gavaskar Test series between India and Australia series was level at 1-1 and the decider was to be played at Dharamsala. In the 3rd Test, Virat Kohli hurt his shoulder on a hard outfield in Ranchi while chasing the ball and Ajinkya Rahane replaced him as the captain for last Test.
It was Rahane's decision to play an extra bowler in Kuldeep Yadav which proved to be the turning point of the match. Yadav scalped 4 wickets in the first innings to break the back of Aussie middle order and India not only won the match but also clinched the series 2-1.
Australia great Ian Chappel lauded Rahane's unique style of captaincy after the match.
“India are very, very lucky to have a stand-in captain like Rahane. I thought he did a fantastic job. It is not easy to do the job of a fill-in because you know the actual captain has a got a certain style. So (in that situation), you think ‘what do I do? Do I try to copy that style or do I just be myself’, and Rahane did the right thing. He captained in his own way,” said the former Australian captain.
#1 With Rohit Sharma
In the recently concluded three-match T20I encounter between India and South Africa, the series was again at stake going into the 3rd T20I. Kohli did not include himself in the playing XI due to a stiff back and Rohit Sharma, the designated vice-captain, took the reins of the team in his hands.
Seeing that Axar Patel had gone for 16 runs in his first over, Rohit made a smart move to make Raina bowl the remaining three overs. As per T20 standards, Raina did a fine job by giving away 27 runs in his 3 overs, picking up the all-important wicket of David Miller. As a result, South Africa fell short of the target by 7 runs, gifting the Men in Blue a 2-1 victory.
It is to be noted here that all these matches were do-or-die situations where a stand-in Indian captain led the team valiantly to bag the series.