Ponting, considered among the most successful captains in the game, had an aggressive style of leadership, something that Lee sees in Kohli as well. “Everyone’s got different styles of captaincy,” Lee told Times of India. “If you see Ricky Ponting and Virat Kohli, you could say there are some similarities between their captaincy styles. They’ve got that raw aggression, but it’s not necessarily over the top.
“There have been times where every captain’s gone over the top from every nation. But I’ve enjoyed watching Kohli’s captaincy. Because real passion comes through, he wants to do really well for the team.”
What particularly stuck out for Lee was that, despite taking over India’s Test captaincy in 2014, and then the limited-overs role in 2017, Kohli has continued to go from strength to strength as far as his batting is concerned.
“Apart from his captaincy, [Kohli] does well with the bat personally. He is the same as Ricky Ponting,” said Lee. “He had that real powerful aggression but not too much. There’s a nice balance, I think. They are pretty similar when it comes to captaincy.
“And also, they’ve got a great ability to read the players. So, you think about Ponting the way he had set the fields, very attacking fields; I see the same In Kohli. Kohli is happy to attack.”
Virat Kohli in Australia:
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) July 15, 2020
Lee went on to contrast Kohli’s style with the likes of Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni, the most successful Indian captains, and pointed out that there was more than one way to lead.
“I played against Dhoni and Ganguly,” Lee said. “They are once again different captains. They’ve got a different, more of a laid-back style but effective. So, you don’t have to be a captain that’s aggressive. You don’t have to be laid back. You should do whatever works for you and whatever to get the best out of your players.
“But there are guys who are great team managers in terms of the way they manage their talent among the team. Because that’s all a captain is all about. The captain should be a good leader. People and players should look up to them and respect them and these guys (Ganguly, Dhoni, Kohli) have definitely got that.”