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‘Captain Kohli may bring Pataudi-like flair’

Calcutta: Sunil Gavaskar has once again said that Virat Kohli, and not Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is the right man to lead India at the moment.

The former India captain, during the second half of the Test series against England, had initially said that there is no alternative to Dhoni as far as the India captaincy is concerned. But on the last day of the Nagpur Test, which ended in a draw thereby handing England the series, Gavaskar said that after watching Virat score a century under trying circumstances, he thinks the youngster is ready for the mantle.

“Till the fourth day of this (Nagpur) Test, I said there is no alternative to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but now that Virat has come up with a hundred under trying circumstances, I think he has discovered a good part about himself. I think he is ready to take on the mantle,” Gavakasr had said then.

He said pretty much the same thing on Thursday, in a television programme, and adding that Dhoni should take a break from captaincy from all three formats.

“It’s still early days as far as the 2015 World Cup is concerned, but I believe that a break in captaincy will do wonders for Dhoni… I am not saying that it has to happen during the middle of a series, but may be after the Australia series or in the later part of 2013. We need to have a look at that,” Gavaskar said.

The legendary opener felt that a break might give Dhoni an opportunity to put things into perspective and reflect on his game and leadership. “The break might be a voluntary one or an enforced break… But he needs time to reflect on his game and come back in a better way. I am very impressed with the manner he remains cool and all but a little break won’t be bad. The demands and pressures that come with the India captaincy are incredible,” Gavaskar said.

On Virat, Gavaskar said: “I could be wrong, but Virat Kohli might bring the flair of Tiger Pataudi in his captaincy. If he knows that he will be appointed for a long term, he has the dynamism, the aggression, panache and class… Except for his mouthing abuses when he reaches a milestone, I like everything about him. I don’t want him to change anything else as he can bring a lot of dynamism.”

However, Dhoni, the player, got his full support. “He can be part of the team for the next couple of years as he is a match-winner,” Gavaskar said.

He was somewhat critical about the present selection panel’s long term plans, as he said: “I am a bit surprised because the selection committee gets a one year term and how can one be sure that they are going to be there in 2014 to prepare a team for 2015?”

With reports emerging that coach Duncan Fletcher’s contract may not be renewed after the Australia series, Gavaskar said that an Indian should be appointed in the hot seat.

“I would like an Indian coach or somebody who is like Gary Kirsten… Kirsten had scored lots of runs in ODI and Tests and brought along a certain work ethic as he had done it all. If you have a champion cricketer, he can help you get better,” Gavaskar said, clearly indicating that he has very little confidence in Fletcher.