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IPL 2019 | Captain Kohli Still an 'Apprentice': Gambhir Takes Fresh Aim

Cricketnext Staff |April 8, 2019, 1:57 AM IST
IPL 2019 | Captain Kohli Still an 'Apprentice': Gambhir Takes Fresh Aim

Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir has once again criticised Virat Kohli's captaincy, acknowledging that while Kohli is a master batsman he is an 'apprentice' as a captain and has lots to learn.

"While Virat Kohli the batsman is an absolute master, Virat Kohli the captain is an apprentice. He has loads to learn. Rather than blaming the bowlers he should take the blame on himself," he wrote in his column in The Times of India.

Gambhir had previously said that Kohli should be thankful that the Royal Challengers Bangalore haven't yet sacked him as skipper.

"I don't see him as a shrewd captain. I don't see him as a tactful captain. And he hasn't won the IPL. So ultimately, a captain is only as good as his record," he had told Star Sports.

"He has been captaining RCB for the last seven to eight years and he has been very lucky and should be thanking the franchise that they stuck with him because not many captains have got such a long rope where they haven't won a tournament."

Gambhir, who led KKR to two IPL titles, also explained that Kohli and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s problems begin from the auction table last December while explaining how he would have approached the previous game.

“I would start with last year's auction where they messed up. Why did they go for Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Coulter-Nile if they knew these players were not available from the start?

“At a small venue like the Chinnaswamy, where the wicket is flat, I would have gone with an out-and-out fast bowler.”

Gambhir, often considered by pundits to be one of the shrewdest captains India never had, points out to two instances from RCB’s defeat to KKR to further make his point.

“Instead of getting Stoinis to bowl the remainder of Siraj’s over, he (Kohli) should have gone with Pawan Negi on a pitch where the ball was gripping. It is a no-brainer that (Andre) Russell likes pace on the ball.”

Russell went onto smash 48 off 13 balls to take his side home from an improbable situation.

Gambhir talks about yet another moment from the match when he analyses how Tim Southee continuously kept changing his plans. “That is when Virat the leader should have been in the ears of Southee reminding him of his plans for Russell.”

To further explain that he goes back to how he dealt with the rampaging Chris Gayle and what he advised his bowlers – “Don’t change the plan.”

He also has an interesting tale on how the franchise decided to sign talismanic all-rounder Russell. The Jamaican has been an integral part of the side for past few seasons but was initially signed only as a back-up for Jacques Kallis.

"A lot of people ask me how KKR discovered Andre Russell. Was it modern-day cricket analytics? Was it a genius head-hunter who recommended him? Or was it a masterstroke at the auction table?

"Being a former KKR captain I can tell you that it was none of the above. It was a classic case of not finding a table at the best Italian restaurant in your city and ending up at a lesser known joint. Let me explain.

"In 2013-14 we were searching for a backup for the great Jacques Kallis. One of the very few options available was Russell. Till then he had played two seasons for Delhi. With 58 runs in seven games Russell was the lesser-known Italian joint waving at the customers passing by.

"They would stop, look, ponder, and move on. KKR booked a table purely as there was no choice. And the Rs 60 lakh price tag for Russell didn't hurt at all."

RCB, Kings XI Punjab and Delhi are the only sides yet to win silverware, but of the lot Kohli is the only one whom the management has shown faith in. Kohli’s side are yet to break the duck this season in five attempts, and their next chance against the inconsistent Delhi Capitals on Sunday.

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