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Virat Kohli vs MS Dhoni in 2016: How India's two captains fared

India Today logo India Today 23-12-2016

ndian cricket under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the limited-overs format and under Virat Kohli in Test cricket has tasted a lot of success this year. Dhoni and Kohli however, are poles apart when it comes to their captaincy even though they lead the Indian team in different formats of the game.

While Dhoni's image remains that of a calm and collected skipper who rarely displays any emotions on the field, Kohli on the other hand, wears his heart on his sleeve. Consequently, his aggression and passion rub off on the rest of his teammates and it was very evident throughout this year as India climbed to the top of the Test rankings and registered nine victories in the longest format without losing a single game.

Dhoni at 35, is still one of the fittest players in world cricket but retirement from Test cricket has resulted in him losing his form with the bat in the limited-overs formats which has had a visible effect on the performance of the Men In Blue on the field.

India haven't played a lot of limited-overs cricket this year which also did not help Dhoni's cause by much. Switching between ODIs and T20Is is not such a big deal for an international cricketer in this day and age but a player is bound to struggle when there are big gaps between series.

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Indian cricketers and their 'Unique' world records

India played limited-overs cricket for three months non-stop at the starting of the year after which they travelled to Zimbabwe for a short series in June and then face New Zealand in October for their final ODI assignment this year.

India started off with a five-match ODI series against Australia in January which they lost 4-1 but went on to sweep the following T20I series 3-0. The very next month, India hosted Sri Lanka in a three-match T20I series and won 2-1. The Asia Cup was the next challenge in store in which India remained unbeaten throughout and clinched the title by beating hosts Bangladesh in the final match.

The World T20 on home soil saw India getting knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual champions West Indies. The 2007 Champions had lost their first match against New Zealand but then went on to beat Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia to reach the last-four. But a brilliant knock by Lendl Simmons in the semis saw West Indies chase down the target of 193 to advance to the final where they hammered England and clinched their second title.

A three-month gap followed as India then travelled to Zimbabwe for three ODIs and as many T20Is. Dhoni and his young bunch lost just one match on that tour sweeping the ODI series 3-0 and clinched the T20Is 2-1. The two-match T20I series against West Indies in Florida in August saw the World T20 champions winning the first match while Dhoni's team never got a chance to level the series as the second match got washed out. India then overcame New Zealand 3-2 in a thrilling five-match ODI series in October and managed to end their limited-overs campaign on a high.

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Except for the disappointment in Australia, Dhoni's team overcame all the other challenges and performed relatively well throughout the year. Dhoni's form itself however, remained a big cause for concern for him and the team.

In stark contrast, Kohli on the other hand had a record-breaking year both in terms of his captaincy and runs with the bat. Kohli in just his second year as captain of the Test team, led India to series victories starting with a 2-0 win in West Indies, 3-0 hammering against New Zealand and then avenged their 2012 home series loss against England with a 4-0 triumph in the recently-concluded five-match series.

Kohli did not lose a single game as captain in the process while drawing just three Tests this year - two against the West Indies and one against England. Kohli's young brigade stood up against each and every challenge that was thrown at them and came out of it with flying colours led by the captain himself.



Kohli led by example and amassed 1215 runs in 12 Tests at an average of 75.93 scoring a record three double hundreds in the calendar year. He was the highest run-scorer in the series against West Indies and England and was adjudged Man of the Series for the latter.

Looking at India's performances this year many experts and pundits believe that the time has come for Kohli to take over the reins of Indian cricket in all the three formats. However, Dhoni's record in the limited-overs format cannot be ignored just yet and he remains one of the best in the current Indian team.

Captain Cool is going through a lean patch with the bat but Dhoni is a fighter and even though he may not be at his best right now, he still possess the ability to turn a game on its head and get Indai over the line. Let's hope for the best in 2017.

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