There is no denying the fact that Virat Kohli is one of the best players of this generation, if not the best. Over the years he has proved his doubters wrong and has piled up runs for fun. He has scored all over the world in every condition and situation.
His growth as a cricketer has been a motivation for millions. Initially, he wasn't as physically fit as he is right now. But hard work and a disciplined regime have made him a top-class athlete over the course of time.
But his captaincy has always divided opinions. Some say he is a very good captain while others disagree, pointing at his inability to win any ICC trophy.
Here we look at Virat's performance as captain in various formats.
Tests - How did he fare as a captain in the longest format?
Virat Kohli was appointed full-time Test captain after MS Dhoni retired from the format in 2014. Since then he has led India in 65 Test matches, winning 38 of them. He has been India's most successful Test captain with an impressive win % of 58.46.
The highlight of his tenure as Test captain has been India's improved overseas performances, resulting in our first ever series win in Australia. India also regained the No.1 ranking in Tests under Kohli's captaincy.
But when it mattered the most, the team fell short. Team India suffered defeat against the Blackcaps in the final of the inaugural World Test Championship. India failed to turn up and lost the game comprehensively.
ODIs - Will the 2019 World Cup semi-final loss define his legacy?
Virat Kohli's first major assignment as ODI captain was the 2017 Champions Trophy after MS Dhoni gave up the captaincy. India were the favorites but lost to arch rivals Pakistan in the final.
Next up was the 2019 World Cup. Once again, India were heavy favorites to lift the trophy. They dominated their way through to the knockouts. But again, when it mattered the most, the men in blue faltered and got knocked out by the Blackcaps.
Captain Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri received a lot of flak for their tactics. Inability to find a suitable no.4, playing inexperienced players like Rishabh Pant in the semi-final and sending MS Dhoni at no.7 were some of the strange decisions that cost India the title.
T20s - Going out an absolute low?
Virat Kohli has signed off as India's T20 captain after an unsuccessful ICC T20 World Cup 2021 campaign. India exited the tournament after failing to make it to the semifinals. India didn't get the start they needed as they lost their first two crucial matches against Pakistan and New Zealand.
This latest outing was particularly disappointing because India’s challenge ended long before their campaign did. A lot of criticism was targeted towards their archaic approach and not being able to change according to the present demands of the format.
Check out the updated most runs in T20 World Cup 2021 list here.
Verdict on the captaincy reign of Virat Kohli
There is no denying that Kohli's captaincy tenure hasn't been as successful as anticipated. Having won the Under-19 World Cup as a captain in 2008, there were huge expectations from him to continue the legacy of MS Dhoni. But the fact that India hasn't won any ICC trophy under Virat's captaincy shows that he hasn't been able to fulfill it completely.
But to term it as a complete disaster wouldn't be right either. This Indian team has shown a great level of consistency under Virat. In 2018 they completed the trifecta by winning in South Africa, England and Australia in a calendar year for the first time. Kohli masterminded series triumphs in all three lands and delivered the coup de grace in New Zealand at the start of 2020 when India romped to a 5-0 sweep.
Needless to say, the inability to steer the team to a big-ticket trophy triumph will stick out like a sore thumb in the otherwise glittering CV. Fans live for these big tournaments, played out in a compact timeframe with all the players on one platform, waltzing and pirouetting towards the pot of gold at the end of it.
Pointing to the lack of success on that stage and criticizing the captain is very natural and very human. But to do so by ignoring everything else that he has achieved as a skipper smacks of a lack of basic understanding of the dynamics of professional sport.
He has always answered his critics as a batsman and he might well do the same as a captain in the upcoming World Test Championship & ODI World Cup in 2023.
There is still a lot to play for Virat Kohli - The Captain.