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"Maybe a bit too harsh" – Rikki Clarke on Virat Kohli’s captaincy style

Virat Kohli is under pressure as India
Virat Kohli is under pressure as India's Test skipper
Wasiq Agha
Modified 11 Feb 2021

Rikki Clarke has admitted that Virat Kohli’s leadership style may be too harsh for the team. However, the former England all-rounder doesn’t see that as a problem, appealing to players to learn from the Indian skipper instead.

Virat Kohli’s captaincy has come under scrutiny in recent months. The 32-year-old has now lost four Tests on the bounce, with many questioning whether he’s the ideal man to lead the team.

The success of Ajinkya Rahane in Virat Kohli's absence has further intensified the debate.

Speaking to Indranil Basu on SK Live, Rikki Clarke gave his take on Virat Kohli the captain, saying:

“As captain, he is a leader, is he harsh on his team? Looking from the outside, maybe a bit too harsh. Fundamentally he is someone you should be looking to emulate what he does day in day out."

Clarke was also quick to point out that Virat Kohli’s style shouldn’t be viewed negatively. The 39-year-old explained that the Indian skipper is well within his rights to expect a high standard of performance from his teammates.

“When you see him on the field, he’s quite animated and wants things to happen. Is that because he sets the bar so high and asks a lot of his players? I don’t think that’s a problem to ask a lot from your players," Clarke said.

Ajinkya Rahane was lauded for the way he gave India’s young guns the freedom to flourish in Australia.

Although Rikki Clarke didn’t touch on the Rahane versus Kohli captaincy debate, the Surrey man was unsure whether the Indian players resonated with Kohli’s fiery leadership style. He continued:

“Can those players deliver at the same level as what maybe Virat can offer and reach the heights that he can reach? Only the Indian dressing room would know that.”

Rikki Clarke wants players to learn from Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli scored a fighting 72 on Day 5 of the first Test against England in Chennai
Virat Kohli scored a fighting 72 on Day 5 of the first Test against England in Chennai

All the talk has been about Virat Kohli the skipper, and how the team's best player may not be the ideal candidate to lead a side.

After a game which saw the right-handed batsman score an impressive 72 on a deteriorating Chennai track, Rikki Clarke admitted he always looks at Virat Kohli as a player first.

“You look at Virat Kohli and he’s one of the world’s best players. From my point of view, I don’t really look at him and see anything as a captain because I look at him as a player,” Clarke noted.

Rikki Clarke said he is sure India would benefit in the long term if others tried to emulate Virat Kohli.

“From my point of view, if you’ve got someone like Virat Kohli you should be learning from him and understanding how he goes about his business. That is going to only make the side better. If everyone could bat like Virat Kohli, India would be getting quite a big score very often,” he added.
Published 11 Feb 2021, 18:30 IST
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