Former India international Gautam Gambhir feels Virat Kohli has a lot to achieve in terms of captaincy. The cricketer-turned-politician equated Kohli to cricketing greats like West Indies’ Brian Lara and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis, who, albeit their personal records, were not part of successful trophy-winning teams.
“It is a team sport. You can keep scoring your own runs,” Gambhir said on the Star Sports Show, Cricket Connected. “There are people like Brian Lara who have scored so many runs. There are people like Jacques Kallis who have won nothing. Virat Kohli at the moment has won nothing, to be honest as a leader. He has a lot to achieve,” said the former India opener.
“You can keep scoring those big runs but according to me, till you win those big trophies you will never be able to fulfill your entire career,” Gambhir added.
The 38-year-old had earlier opined on the same show that the current Indian team lacks belief in crucial games. The reference point was India’s semi-final loss to New Zealand in the 2019 ICC World Cup and its ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Final loss at the hands of Pakistan.
Gambhir said that what sets apart a good team from a great team is how they perform in crunch situations and that the current side has always done poorly when the pressure was at its highest.
“What sets you apart from being a good player to being a very very good player in a team is what you do on those crucial games," said Gambhir.
“I think probably we have not been able to handle the pressure, probably other teams have been able to handle the pressure that way. If you look at all the semi-finals and finals, it just shows when playing really well in the league stage and you don’t play well in the semi-finals or knockouts, it’s probably your mental toughness as well.
“We can keep talking that we’ve got everything, we have the ability to be the world champions, but till the time you don’t go on the cricket field and prove that, you will never be called the world champions. So it’s just your ability in those crunch situations.
“I’ve always said this, in bilaterals and league stages you have got probably a chance to make the mistake, come to the knockout stages, you don’t have a chance to make a mistake, you make a mistake and you’re going back home.
“So that’s where beliefs come into play and that where India lacks in all those crucial games."
Since the 2011 World Cup, India have failed to win a single ICC tournament despite making it to the final four on each occasion. The last time India made it to the finals of a tournament was the 2017 Champions Trophy, which they lost to arch-rivals Pakistan.