If you enjoy a slice of luck you might get off the hook when you take a step in the wrong, gloomy direction, and if you are blessed with a big slice of it you might be spared of the monstrous consequences of your seemingly insipid bend of mind—but when you are incredibly lucky your moment of stupidity evolves into an unbelievable stroke of courage and genius that ends up with the world around hailing you for being the man you are: bold, brutal and totally honest about it.
Like how Virat Kohli is finding himself, for now.
After Shannon Gabriel sent Shikhar Dhawan back to the dressing room in the third over and as Kohli was bounced out by debutant Alzarri Joseph to reduce India to 19 for two inside six overs, the camera panned on Rohit Sharma standing in the dugout, looking grim and vulnerable. A moment many felt bad about the changes Kohli had made for the third Test.
What Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha did for 72.3 overs that stretched from a couple of minutes before tea on day one to post-lunch and almost tea on day two was what Kohli said, at the end of the first Test at Antigua, he didn’t want to happen often: the tail wagging to pull India out of trouble. Saha and Ashwin helped India reach a safe position. At 126 for five, that — the first innings total of 353 — looked like the snow-clad peak of Everest.
At the end of the Test, Kohli stressed the method in his madness and hinted at the need to continue with both — the method and the madness — for which he is ready to take extra responsibilities at No. 3, for which Ajinkya Rahane need to fine-tune himself in his new No. 4 slot, for which Murali Vijay may have to sit out.
All this to give Rohit an extended run of luck at No. 5. Is it a fair deal for a lot of guys, especially for fit-again Vijay who got dropped due to injury and Rahane who will now have to reshape his game? Maybe yes, and, in any case, Kohli doesn’t bother about people who don’t like change and how others would react and what they would say about the steps he takes towards dominating the world.
It’s easy to blame Kohli for being inconsiderate towards Vijay, biased towards Rohit and impatient towards Pujara, but the truth at the bottom of his scheme of things is simple.
If you take Kohli out of the equation, and view Dhawan’s inconsistency alongside the reputation of guys like Rahane, Vijay and Pujara for being painfully slow, the Indian Test captain has no one at his command to push through his aggressive agendas. Neither Rahane nor Saha and Ashwin put together could inspire Kohli to make daring declarations and hot chases.
Rohit could, and if he sees the opportunity just as big and bold as Kohli does, we are going to witness a new dawn in Indian cricket.
The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman