It will be the beginning of a new era in Indian cricket under the leadership of Virat Kohli and I am keenly looking forward to it. The reason I say this is because he is passionate, he wants to succeed, fights hard on the field and these are all the characteristics one needs to be a successful Test captain, especially in alien conditions.
I have said before that the real test of Indian captains will be away from home and that will not change. Virat Kohli will be judged on his successes away from home and this will be his real challenge. He has started well in Adelaide, although he finished on the losing side. It will also be a different ball game as he will be watched closely, monitored rigorously just like his predecessors have been.
To me, he has the ability to lead by example as he is an outstanding player in all formats of the game and although he was a better ODI player, his recent performances in Australia will take his Test batting a notch higher and bring him in the league of outstanding players in all conditions. He also has the knack of putting ahead his teammates’ performance than his, which is a good trait, something that will be respected by the dressing room.
He must also quickly realise that this job will challenge him. The biggest challenge would be to keep himself fresh as a batsman. He is a very passionate person, so his involvement in loses will be lot more and hence will take a lot out of him. This is where he needs to grow quickly and my biggest advice to him as a well-wisher would be to draw a line between batting and captaining. It’s a hard thing to do but it’s is something which he needs to quickly sort out.
India start the Sydney Test on Tuesday and this is a big event in the Australian cricket calendar. It will be a ‘pink day’ and it will be an electric atmosphere to start with. I will be keen to look at the surface and hence the Indian line-up. If the surface is not green I will not be averse to playing two spinners. This pitch has a history of turning and with the weather being very hot for a couple of days, I will not be surprised if it spins. As very rightly said by Ryan Harris there had not been much help for the quicks. Also, I feel India should start looking at two spinners even in overseas conditions on brown pitches as the seamers are allowing runs at a quick pace. So even if they are picking wickets they are not able to control the game. The spinners can also bowl tight lines in the first innings, which is the real challenge in overseas conditions.