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NEW DELHI: Former India captain Kris Srikkanth believes that the Indian cricket team’s dependence on skipper Virat Kohli to repeatedly bail them out of a tough spot or finish games, as well as the reliance on Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav to take wickets, is a cause for concern in a very busy year full of overseas tours.
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Kohli’s India lead the ongoing six-ODI series in South Africa 3-0, with the skipper scoring 112, 46* and 160* and the wrist-spinning pair of Chahal and Yadav accounting for 21 of the 28 wickets that India have taken. In his column for TOI, Srikkanth clubbed Kohli in the same league as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble in terms of commitment to India’s cause, but worried what would happen when the captain failed.
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“There has been enough said and written about Kohli. To me what stands out is his commitment to his own game, team and country. That fierce will to win combined with a fantastic work ethic is what has really set him apart,” wrote the 58-year-old.”The last two decades has seen some of India’s most committed cricketers. Top of that list would be Tendulkar, Dravid and Kumble. In my opinion, Kohli is right up there with the best when it comes to commitment. The pride in performance is extraordinary.
“What adds to the brilliance of Kohli is, he seldom complains. Conditions or match situations hardly puts him off. He is closest to the complete batsman we can hope to see. The 160 was one of his better knocks but I am sure there is enough on the way in the next few years,” he added.
“As much I have enjoyed the commanding performance of India, I am also concerned on the over dependence on Kohli. The batting is failing to click as a unit and that’s a cause for concern. The moment the skipper has a bad game this team looks completely different.”
Assessing India’s bowling during the ODI series, Srikkanth warned of an expiry date on the success of Chahal and Yadav, especially with the talismanic AB de Villiers set to return for the injury-hit South African team.
“The wristspinners have spun magic around the batsmen but it will not continue for long in the same manner. If the team has to win major championships, it requires the entire XI to perform. At the moment everything looks rosy. As much as I would like this dream run to continue, I will have to add that a few areas need to be addressed, to keep the momentum going,” wrote Srikkanth, who captained India in four Test matches and 13 ODIs. “The expected return of AB de Villiers will be a shot in the arm for the hosts. As a fan I can only hope his return infuses some competitiveness into the series.”