Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has been left highly impressed by the manner in which Indian stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane has led the team- both as an on-field tactician and as a batsman- in the ongoing Boxing Day Test but he still insists that the full-time job of leading the team remains with Virat Kohli as long as he wants it.
Ajinkya Rahane has been absolutely brilliant as a captain on the opening two days of the ongoing Boxing Day Test. After having marshaled his troops with aplomb courtesy attacking field placements and bowling changes, Rahane produced an innings for the ages on a rather lively MCG track to help India take a dominant position in the Test.
“I think he’s done a great job to pick up the pieces from Adelaide with this team, lead really well in the field yesterday and you can see he’s playing like a captain now as well,” Ricky Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“He wants to play that captain’s knock; he wants to get a hundred in Virat’s absence and do the best thing he can to try and drag his country and his team back into this series.” he added.
However, Ricky Ponting insisted that Virat Kohli, who had led India to the No.1 ranking and a historic series win in Australia two summers, will continue to captain the team once he returns.
Virat Kohli is averaging 60.61 with the bat as Test captain but should he one day decide to give up the responsibility in order to concentrate more on his batting, Ponting feels that it will be an ‘unwelcoming’ sight for the opposition bowlers.
“Virat will be captain of India as long as he wants to, but if he thinks standing down is going to make him an even better player, then that’s a scary thing for world cricket,” Ponting said.
“I’m not doubting Kohli’s captaincy skills or credentials at all, I’m just saying it’s going to take something special to pick up the pieces and Rahane’s been able to do that so far. I don’t think there’ll be pressure from anywhere else for Kohli to do that but let’s wait and see.” he added.
Ponting bracketed Rahane’s solid knock of 104 in the mold of Cheteshwar Pujara but added that that the Australians did not help themselves by not forcing him to drive through the cover region and by dropping all the opportunities that he gave.
“He’s almost played a (Cheteshwar) Pujara-like innings. No thrills, he’s hit very few boundaries but he’s just continually backing his defence and trying to wear the Australian bowlers down. I think the Australians haven’t made him cover drive enough. I think they’ve been a little bit short and they’ve plugged that cover region. That nick that we saw that went between Paine and Smith, I think that could have been covered with another slip in place and leave the cover area open.” he added.