Virat Kohli Declares He Is Ready To Lead Across all Formats, Says Has Been `Preparing’ To Lead In ODIs & T20s Too
Virat Kohli, India’s new captain across formats, said on Saturday he was “better Prepared“ for the limited-overs captaincy now then he was for Tests in 2014. He also said he did not realize exactly when the “transition from player to captain“ happened in his mind.
Kohli was the obvious choice for captain in the limited overs format after Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to step down days before the England series, beginning January 15. Kohli wasn’t such an obvious choice in Tests after Dhoni announced his shock retirement midway into the Australia series in 2014.
Since being elevated to the Test captaincy miday through the series in Australia in 2014, Kohli has had a dream run as both batsman and captain. His influence has been so strong, in fact, that Dhoni is said to have acknowledged in private that “this is Virat’s team“.
“Test captaincy, I think, I was told a day before the Adelaide Test that MS is not going to play the game and I was going to be captaining. It was quite surprising. I didn’t expect it at all. In my head I was still finding my feet in Test cricket as a batsman. But the responsibility worked beautifully for me.”
“I have been preparing in my own head (for this transition).MS has been speaking to me about strategies, about how situations need to be approached.Because I think he also understood it is very important to guide me, teach me, knowing the legacy he has set up.”
“It is very important for the person who is coming to take it forward and not be in a state of confusion. Added responsibility has always worked for me in a sense that there is no room left to be complacent. You have no room to relax. That is why even in IPL, it is very easy to throw my wicket after 60 and 70s but the fact that I push myself after that is because I understand as a captain of the team, I need to set an example and need to first make that kind of effort before asking the team members to do it”, Kohli said.
“It (captaincy in Tests) took a bit of time to process and understand how it is done. Yes, I would say the ODI and T20 captaincy has been something that I have tried to learn along the lines a lot more. At the same time I feel a lot more confident taking it up and starting it up straightaway because of the kind of cricket I have played in the shorter formats and what I have learnt.”
Captaincy in Shortest format ‘Very Difficult’
“Captaincy in Test cricket still gives you the opportunity to come back into the game.I saw an Allan Border interview where he spoke about the leadership of Ricky Ponting. He mentioned that Ponting was able to maintain that consistency rate over such a long period time in a format that doesn’t allow you to comeback very often.So to stay on top was a remarkable achievement. That is what MS has done for India as well. Has got all the major trophies.
“Captaining in shortest format is very difficult, and to keep coming back in that requires different set of thinking, requires you to think out of the box, which MS has done wonderfully for so many years.Responsibility makes me better player, better person, makes my understand the game much more.”
I think I will be able to execute the plans with much more conviction than the time I started off with Test captaincy,said Kohli.
When asked how he reacted he learnt the news, Kohli said, “The first reaction is obviously (that) it is a very special moment in my life. It’s a lot of responsibility and something I am really looking forward to. I didn’t realise when this transition happened in my own head.”
“Starting off as a player just wanting to play for India and now having the responsibility to be captain in all three formats…I feel very grateful that I have been given this opportunity .
“When I was informed by the selectors and the BCCI, all the emotions and feelings of me playing club games as a child came to mind. Those are the first things you think of because for every child it is a dream to play for the country and then this probably is the biggest day in my life.“
The next World Cup is still more than two years away and Kohli said leading the Indian team in the mega-event will be his biggest achievement. “Just hearing about the World Cup gives me goosebumps. I have played in one (he has actually played in two), played a couple of World T20s. But to captain India in the World Cup will be the biggest achievement of my life.“
Talking about the team’s upcoming arrangements, Kohli said, “The current phase provides opportunities to youngsters to seal their spot for that big occasion (World Cup).”