Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith has criticised the lack of a "constructive person" in the Indian dressing room who could "challenge" Virat Kohli with different ideas and keep him aware about "other possibilities".
Smith, who was talking at an event organised by SuperSport television network on Monday (January 22), also added Kohli might not be a "long-term captaincy option" for the team, given the burden of pressure on the Delhi man when the results are not going the team's way.
The 36-year-old's comments come after India, the world number one Test side, surrendered the ongoing three-match series to South Africa with two straight defeats. A few strange selection calls and lack of preparation time are being seen as major reasons for the team's below-par performance in the "Rainbow Nation".
Meanwhile, a lot has already been said about Kohli's dominance in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), let alone the dressing room.
Historian Ramachandra Guha, who had quit from the board's Committee of Administrators (CoA) last year, had recently said that the BCCI officials "worship" Kohli more than the cabinet "worships" Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Guha had also pointed out the "veto power" senior cricketers enjoy in Indian cricket when it comes to important decisions, including the appointment of coach.
"When I look at Virat, I think he needs someone in the support staff who can constructively challenge him and help him grow. He has all the capabilities tactically, he knows his own game, he sets the standard in the field for everyone else," Smith said.
He added: "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."
"I don't know, when I look at him, if he is a long-term captaincy option for India.
"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 don't know if I'd want to burden Virat Kohli with that... Or if India have a better leader in that environment."
Notably, speculations were rife that Ravi Shastri was captain's Kohli favourite choice for the role of head coach, which was vacant after Anil Kumble had stepped down from the high-profile post in June 2017 following his much-publicised rift with the captain.
Shastri, soon after taking over as head coach last year, made his intentions clear when he said "the captain will always be the boss of the team". Critics have also alleged that the former India captain is "yes man" to Kohli.
How Kohli impacts team negatively, Smith explains
Smith also hit out at Kohli's knee-jerk reaction to situations and the negative impact it has on his teammates.
The Indian captain was seen expressing disappointment at his teammates' dismissals during the recently-concluded second Test in Centurion, which India lost by 135 runs. The right-hander carried the team single-handedly by scoring 153 but was seen slamming his pads with the bat whenever the batsmen at the other end did not live up to his expectations.
"Often his reaction to situations... I think that can sometimes impact on your team negatively. We all know how powerful Virat Kohli is in world cricket, in Indian cricket," Smith said.
He added: "As a leader you need to understand the whole environment, talk to the players to try to get the best out of the environment. He might grow as he learns to soften that a little bit. His performances speak for themselves, it's about whether he can get the best out of those around him when they are under pressure."