Virat Kohli may well have lost the trust of the top brass of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and selectors after his decision to quit T20I captaincy and the series of statements in its aftermath, but he has not lost the trust of one of the most important voice which matters for the Indian team.
India’s head coach Rahul Dravid has come out in the open to praise the intensity and commitment of Kohli and said that the Test skipper has been “phenomenal” in his efforts to lead the side despite all the “noise” surrounding him in the last few days.
He hailed Kohli for keeping the morale of the side higher after coming to South Africa and reiterated the importance of keeping all the players in good mental space before a big series.
Kohli has not scored a century since a Test century against Bangladesh in November 2019 but Dravid did not mark this as a point of concern and said that a big innings is just round the corner for him. He said that Kohli has been preparing really well for his batting challenges and that he will make it count once he clicks in the series.
"I couldn't speak more highly about him and the way he has committed to his preparation and also just the way he has connected with the group, on and off the field," Dravid said.
"Even personally, he is in a good space. Even though he hasn't been able to convert starts. I feel there is a big run of really good scores coming from him. Just observing him around the group, and looking at how relaxed and switched on he is, I do feel, we are going to see a big run of scores once he clicks. He has been a real credit to himself and the team despite the noise that has been around him.
"I know there has been a lot of noise on other issues leading up to this particular Test. Honestly, keeping the morale high is not very difficult. It has been led by the skipper himself. Virat has been phenomenal over the last 20 days that we have been here, the way he has trained and connected with the group. As a coach, sometimes, leading into the series, there isn't too much you can do once the game starts. You are looking to prepare well and get the team into a good space," Dravid said in the pre-match press conference from Johannesburg.
The world would have been waiting for Kohli to address the fresh set of revelations made by the chairman of selectors, Chetan Sharma over his decision to relinquish T20I captaincy.
However, it has not been Kohli addressing the pre-match press conference as per tradition but Dravid has had to perform the duty. Dravid’s address to the media quashed the possibility of flaring up the controversy but the former India skipper downplayed the issue of Kohli not coming to the press conference and said that he will be up for it before his 100th Test match which will be the third and last Test of the series.
“Nothing like that. I don't decide this anyway. But the BCCI media team have told me he is just being held back ahead of the 100th Test in Cape Town, you all can celebrate him in a big way then,” Dravid reckoned.
India are 1-0 up in the series and they will be eager to win the second Test of the series to win their first-ever Test series in the rainbow nation.