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Captain India's Gloom At The Doom

By Rediff Cricket
November 01, 2021 17:35 IST
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The T20 World Cup is Virat Kohli's last hurrah as India's captain.

It was meant to be a triumphant campaign bringing the skipper the one memento he didn't have in his cabinet of dazzling cricketing accomplishments -- an ICC world title.

After Sunday's loss against New Zealand, with India confronting an early exit from the World Cup, Virat may get to share a dubious record with Rahul Dravid -- of leading an Indian team knocked out of a World Cup after the league stages in the new century.

Dravid's side was pushed out of the 2007 50 overs World Cup after the group stage. That humiliation cost Dravid the Indian captaincy; Mahendra Singh Dhoni was assigned to lead India at the inaugural T20 World Cup in September 2007, winning the tournament and setting the stage for the Mahi Legend.

Check out these images from Sunday's game and one's heart goes out to the captain. Arguably the most expressive face in current world cricket, Virat Kohli's expressions and body language say it all.

Please click on the images for a better look at Virat's moods as the match unfolded.

IMAGE: At the toss with his Kiwi counterpart, Virat was all smiles and quips.
Kane Williamson and he go a long way -- both incredible cricketers, they led their teams in the 2007 under-19 World Cup.
Photograph: ANI Photo

 

IMAGE: Kohli was shackled through his brief stay at the crease. In desperation to break the scoring deadlock, he slow swept leg-spinner Ish Sodhi only to find Trent Boult at the long-on boundary.
Photograph: ANI Photo

 

IMAGE: Virat's walk back to the pavilion was accompanied, it seemed, almost by a sense of foreboding.
Against Pakistan, after the early shocks, he had held firm, building a score that his bowlers could compete with.
Photograph: ANI Photo

 

IMAGE: Virat was right to be fearful. After his wicket, none of his team-mates, barring Ravindra Jadeja, rose to the occasion, as India collapsed to a miserable 109.
Photograph: ANI Photo

 

IMAGE: The captain disappears into the dressing room and the spectators sensed doom was at hand.
Photograph: ANI Photo

 

IMAGE: As wicket after wicket tumbled on the field, Virat followed the game with visible alarm.
His team's score was too little, he sensed, for his bowlers to defend.
Against Pakistan, they had not dislodged Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan as they easily rattled up the 152 runs needed for victory.
Photograph: ANI Photo

 

IMAGE: Even when the chips are down, when the camera swivels to the skipper, you see Virat animated, goading his guys to do better. Not on Sunday, The body language radiated a sense of defeat.
Photograph: ANI Photo

 

IMAGE: And the game is done. New Zealand have defeated India by 8 wickets and Virat's agony is complete.
Photograph: ANI Photo

 

IMAGE: Look at thee final images in this sequence as he congratulates Kane Williamson on victory.
When he has lost a game before, the captain has a smile for his winning opponent and an appreciative nod of 'well done'.
Here, there is tired resignation about the congratulatory ritual. Weariness even.
Photograph: ANI Photo

 

Photograph: ANI Photo

 

Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

 

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma is the front-runner to succeed Virat as India's T20 captain.
We urge the selectors to look to the future. Rohit will be 35 next April and will almost certainly not play the next T20 World Cup.
So why not choose someone young enough to lead India in the next four years?
Despite his dismal record captaining the Punjab Lions, K L Rahul would be an interesting choice as skipper.
Rishabh Pant, who has tasted captaincy this IPL season, is too impetuous to be given leadership.
Unless his batting acquires a sense of responsibility to his team's interests, Rishabh is a no-no, we say, no matter how tempting the prospect of following the 2007-Dhoni template.
Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Photographs curated by Manisha Kotian/Rediff.com
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

 

 
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