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Virat Kohli ends 2016 on a high, can safely be branded best captain in the world

India Today logo India Today 22-12-2016

Indian cricket has been blessed with some terrific captains over the years especially since the turn of the millennium when Sourav Ganguly took over the reins and turned his team into a hungry bunch of boys who wanted to win at all cost. Team India's record in the longest format was always a worry whenever they travelled abroad but the momentum started to shift in their favour slowly but surely.

Rahul Dravid then took over from where Ganguly left and kept the momentum going. Anil Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni together helped India clinch the top spot in the ICC Test rankings for the first time. And now that all the legends have retired, the responsibility lies on the young shoulders of Virat Kohli, Indian cricket's latest wonder boy.

In a very short span of time Kohli has managed to bring back memories of the Ganguly era when the team was being led by a captain who feared nobody and took on every challenge that came his way. Kohli's talent and passion for the game was never doubted by anybody but everybody wondered how he would fare once he took over from Dhoni, India's most successful captain in history.

Two years and 20 Test matches later we have got our answer, and the future looks bright for Indian cricket. Kohli is yet to lose a Test series and is tied at the third place with Mohammad Azharuddin for most victories. It's still early days but Kohli already has a better winning percentage than any other captain India has ever had.

The win at Chennai was Kohli's 18th successive unbeaten match as captain, a feat which even Dhoni or Ganguly could not manage. It is now the longest unbeaten streak for an Indian captain helping Kohli match Sunil Gavaskar's feat of 18 consecutive undefeated matches.

Kohli's hot-streak as captain has been such that even his contemporaries have not been able to match up to him. His records speak for himself. Australia captain Steve Smith for example, recently suffered a crushing series defeat at home against South Africa. In 18 Tests, Smith has won 9 and lost 5 and the defeat against the Proteas have raised a few eyebrows in Australia. Smith's own batting average has increased from 58.49 to 60.93 this year but the team graph is on a decline.

South Africa's stand-in skipper Faf du Plessis has certainly made a very good start. Du Plessis has delivered the results whenever he has been asked to lead the side and has showed that he can become the full-time skipper if need be. He has lead the team to three Test wins out of five and suffered just one loss.

This year Kohli has taken his game to an all new level both in terms of his batting and his captaincy. With a win percentage of 63.63, Kohli is head and shoulders above captains from the other three top Test playing nations - England, Australia and Pakistan.

With great power comes great responsibility and Kohli has ensured that he leads by example. He has the highest average among the top four captains this year and is just behind Cook in terms of runs scored in 2016.

Virat Kohli now has scored 2111 runs in 22 Tests as captain with the help of 8 hundreds, including three double centuries this year.

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