I have opined many times that comparing generations across different eras is not easy, In fact it is near to impossible. But people never restrain themselves from comparisons. Nowadays comparison between Dhoni the Captain and Kohli the Captain (Dhoni vs Kohli) has become a hot topic.
Dhoni-The Captain Cool
Dhoni was an extraordinary Captain who was known for his out of the box thinking. He could put psychological pressure on the opponents by his interviews on the eve of the match. He could do the unexpected like risking giving the last over to a rookie medium pacer like Joginder Sharma in the inaugural 2007 World Cup T20 tournament. This proved to be a masterstroke which led to a complacent Pakistan gifting away the World Cup to their arch rivals-India.
Taking bold decisions
A Captain is defined by his ability to take bold decisions on and off the field. Dhoni was a master of this art. It takes a big heart to try and remove the seniors from the team and convince the selectors for the same. He did both which led to the ouster of many stalwarts. For example he was far sighted enough to realize that only one out of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag could open keeping World Cup 2015 in mind. MSD wanted to nurture young blood, youngsters are more active and agile and a good investment for the future.
There is a saying that luck favors the brave and MSD is a great example. Majority of his decisions like making Rohit Sharma as an opener were extremely successful. Rohit has now become one of the legends of white ball Cricket.
Dhoni has won every major ICC Cricketing tournament across formats and has firmly etched his name in the history books of Indian Cricket.
Virat and the Dhoni vs Kohli debate
Virat is a good and extremely successful Captain but not a great tactician as Dhoni, he is still a work in progress.
Dhoni was a person who could control situations, Virat is controlled by situations. Critics say that Virat has not won any IPL tournament till date, Dhoni has won three hence straight away they dismiss his Captaincy credentials against Dhoni.
My take on this is that Cricket is a team sport and results do not come with individual brilliance. Apart from Virat, AB De Villiers (ABD) and Yuzi Chahal RCB did not boast of any other impact players. The only year RCB came close to winning the trophy was 2016 when Virat and ABD had to play out of their skins.
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Statistically Virat is the most successful Test Cricket Captain in Indian history with overall 28 wins, record 13 overseas test wins and highest ever win percentage recorded with greater than 2 matches as captain.
Virat-the Fast Bowlers’ Captain
Virat understands that to win Cricket matches it is imperative to bowl opposition teams out. This, coupled with an aggressive To Win approach, has led to the emergence of a potent battery of fast bowlers with the likes of Bumrah, Shami, Ishant and Umesh Yadav capable of taking 20 wickets on any surface across the World.
This coupled with Ashwin, Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav etc not only makes this bowling attack multi-faceted but also gives a lot of options. The counter argument for the above point is that all the above bowling resources had emerged in MSD’s time but were rookies, with experience they have got direction.
We can say that both MSD and Virat have been extraordinary Captains who have changed the face of Indian Cricket. Comparing one against the other would be belittling their immense contribution to Indian Cricket.