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Virat Kohli has to be free from 'yes-men' in order to grow as Captain: Graeme Smith

File photo of Indian captain Virat Kohli. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 23, 2018, 08.27 AM (IST)

Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith raised serious questions on Indian skipper Virat Kohli's leadership capabilities, saying he lacks the patience required for a leader to raise the overall level of his team.

Smith, who was speaking at an event organised by South African channel SuperSport, wondered if Kohli was the right choice for the captaincy in the longer run for Indian cricket.

"I don't know, when I look at him, if he is a long-term captaincy option for India," Smith said. 

"At the end of this year, he'd have been away from home for a while, the pressure he'll face, the scrutiny from the press - I know he only gets that in India - but if you're away from home and you're struggling for form as a team, I don't know if I'd want to burden Virat Kohli with that... Or if India have a better leader in that environment."

Smith, who was accompanied to the talking show with former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar, criticised the lack of a constructive person in the Indian dressing room who could challenge Virat Kohli with different ideas, than just being a 'yes-man' 

"When I look at Virat, I think he needs someone in the support staff who can constructively challenge him and help him grow."

"I think if he had a really constructive person in his environment, who could talk to him, make him think, maybe even challenge him with some different ideas, in a constructive way, not an angry or aggressive way, but make him think, open his eyes to other possibilities, that would make him a really good leader," Smith added.

However, the cricket legend was all praise of Kohli's playing capabilities after he was criticised not just because India lost both the matches against South Africa but for the ways he chose to react to the situations and even confronting anyone who questions his choices.

"He has all the capabilities tactically, he knows his own game, he sets the standard in the field for everyone else. Sometimes as a leader you've got to consider how you impact the others in the environment, that's an area of his leadership that he needs to grow. You can see, he's often at his players. He's very aware, he's focus on the game is on, sweeping or mid-on."

The right-handed batsman has already been fined 25% of his match fee for bad conduct and showing dissent against the umpire during the third day’s play of second Test against South Africa in Centurion.

Although, Gavaskar was not as critical as Smith but felt that Kohli needed to connect better with his team-mates and that could help him raise the level of the Indian team.

After the loss in first two Tests, Gavaskar remembered MS Dhoni's approach to lead the Indian Cricket team in a foreign soil.