'The more time KL Rahul spends as captain, the better he will learn' - Gautam Gambhir reckons India missed 'captain' Kohli in Johannesburg

‘The more time KL Rahul spends as captain, the better he will learn’ – Gautam Gambhir reckons India missed ‘captain’ Kohli in Johannesburg

Kohli is expected to return to lead in the third and final Test in Cape Town, scheduled to get underway from January 11.

Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli
Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir feels that the team missed their regular skipper Virat Kohli during the Johannesburg Test, which the visitors lost by seven wickets to bring the series at a level. Kohli, who led the team to a 113-run win in Centurion, had to sit out of the second rubber on account of an upper back spasm, forcing a last-minute leadership change as KL Rahul took over.

Gambhir reckoned that irrespective of what kind of form he is in, Kohli remains a crucial cog in the team’s wheel and was certainly missed for both his leadership and batting duties. However, he went on to suggest that Rahul, the captain, will improve as he spends more time performing the role. Notably, the Johannesburg affair was Rahul’s maiden as Test captain.

“We definitely missed Virat Kohli the batsman. Steve Smith, Joe Root, Kane Williamson, Rohit Sharma, these are the type of batters you miss. And it is difficult to find their replacement, no matter what form they are in, because the expectation remains that they will score those big runs. But Kohli the captain, we missed him as well because he is so experienced and things turn simpler for experienced captains because they have been around for long,” he said during a conversation with Start Sports.

ODI or T20I captaincy is far easier than Test: Gautam Gambhir

Gambhir highlighted the difference between leading in white- and red-ball cricket. He reckoned that unlike white-ball captaincy, where a captain majorly needs to focus on field placements to get wickets, in Test cricket, the captain needs to “buy the wickets”.

“But KL Rahul, the more time he spends, the better he will learn, but the faster he learns the better it is. This is not like ODI or T20I captaincy, which is far easier because you don’t have to focus much on field placements,” Gambhir noted.

“In Test cricket you need to buy the wickets, sometimes even gamble with your choices. Like in the case of Bavuma, had he placed three slips instead of keeping one at the cover and tempt him into playing the drive maybe there could have been an opportunity for caught behind. But he kept a deep point which was a defensive mindset and it is something that he should be told about. You need to be an aggressive captain, not by attitude, but with your field placements,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kohli is expected to return to lead in the third and final Test in Cape Town, scheduled to get underway from January 11, as India attempt to clinch their maiden series victory in the lands of the Proteas.