Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are two of the most popular players who have captained Indian cricket team in the modern era. The period under Dhoni saw India winning three ICC World titles – 2007 T20I World Cup, the 2011 ODI World Cup, and the 2013 Champions Trophy. The ongoing era under Kohli has seen India becoming a force to reckon with across all three formats and turning into one of the most potent fast bowling attacks in the world.
Dhoni played 200 ODIs as captain out of which he won 110 and lost 74 with a winning percentage of 59.52. Kohli so far has played 89 ODIs as captain and has won 62 of them with a percentage of 71.83. In Tests, Dhoni captained India in 60 games out of which he managed to pick 27 games and lost 18 matches at a winning percentage of 45. Kohli, so far, has played 55 Tests in which he has won 33 games and lost 12, with a winning percentage of 60. So, who is the better captain among the two?
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Former India cricketer Laxman Sivaramakrishnan believes that the captaincy styles of the two players developed two different kinds of team, and both teams managed to find success in their own way. “Virat Kohli is a very proactive and instinctive captain. It gives him a lot of energy and he is still getting better and better. Best part about Kohli as captain, he leads from the front, not only scoring runs with the bat but also the energy that he possesses,” the cricketer-turned-commentator said in an interview to Times of India.
“Probably Jadeja and Kohli are the two best fielders in the Indian team. So he sets an example on the field. I quite like the way Virat is going about his job and he is getting better,” he added.
“Both are different captains (Kohli and Dhoni), Virat is more of an aggressive and expressive kind of captain and MS is quite laid back and you can hardly read from his facial expression and what his body is speaking about. But MS Dhoni is more of a bowlers’ captain which is a big advantage for any bowler.
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“Virat Kohli on the other hand is a livewire with his energy because he always has some ideas for bowlers. The approach is important but what is more important is the result,” Sivaramakrishnan said.
The former India bowler further went on to compare Kohli with the Australian team of the 90s and early 2000s. “Virat Kohli doesn’t mind losing games because he plays to win. That’s what Australia did in the 90s and 2000s, that’s why they were so successful. You just want to go, try and win a game and in the process if you lose it’s part and parcel of the game,” he said.