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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Kohli should replace Dhoni as Test captain, says Azhar

Kohli should replace Dhoni as Test captain, says Azhar

By Harish Kotian
Last updated on: October 01, 2014 18:11 IST
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Mohammad Azharuddin during the launch of Champions Tennis League.

Mohammad Azharuddin during the launch of Champions Tennis League. Photograph: Harish Kotian

Former captain Mohammad Azharuddin believes it is time the Board of Control for Cricket in India starts thinking about a new captain for the Test team following its disastrous showing overseas in the last couple of years.

“You don’t survive as a captain. If you perform, then only you stay for a long time. If you don’t perform there is no survival and you perish. As simple as that!

“The Board has to take some action. Maybe a different captain might help; you never know,” said Azharuddin, in Mumbai on Wednesday, at the launch of Vijay Amritraj’s Champions League tennis tournament.

Azharuddin, 51, is co-owner of the Chandigarh franchise in the tennis Champions League, which will feature six Indian teams.

The former batsman, who played 99 Tests and 334 ODIs from 1985 to 2000, believes Virat Kohli is the ideal candidate to lead the Test team.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni chats with Virat Kohli during an India nets session ahead of the first Investec Test Series at Trent Bridge on July 8, 2014 in Nottingham, England. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Mahendra Singh Dhoni chats with Virat Kohli during an India nets session ahead of the first Investec Test Series at Trent Bridge on July 8, 2014 in Nottingham, England. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Dhoni is India’s most unsuccessful skipper overseas, having suffered 11 defeats on foreign soil, which includes two successive series losses in England and the whitewash in Australia in 2011-12.

“I would give the responsibility of the Test side to Virat Kohli. He has not done well in one series (in England), but he is a good player. If you don’t put responsibility on a good player how will you know they can perform or get the best out of them,” he said.

“You should have different captains for the different formats. You don’t get anything readymade. You have to give someone a chance, and unless you give someone a chance how will you find out if someone is good or not,” the Hyderabadi added.

Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara failed with the bat in England in the Test series, which India lost 1-3.

“Technically, both Kohli and Pujara were found wanting in England. In England, you should look to play forward; you can’t play from the crease. The main thing was that they allowed the bowlers to bowl to their weaknesses; if you allow the bowlers to bowl well then you are always in trouble. Sometimes you have to do something different to make the bowlers think differently also.

“But if you are getting out in the same fashion then the bowler doesn’t need to do much; he just needs to bowl it in the same area,” he said.

Azharuddin said he is open to the idea of coaching a team or player if the opportunity arises, but the decision rests with the BCCI or the player’s local association.

“Cricket has always been my love, and if get an opportunity I am open to coaching. I am here because of only cricket and it has given me everything. I am happy to assist in whichever way I can. I think they have to come and speak to me. If they want me, I am always ready. I am always ready to help any player who comes to me anytime,” he said.

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Harish Kotian

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