India’s Test skipper, Virat Kohli has taken great strides since he was handed over the captaincy mantle in Tests for India. Under Kohli, India has won Test series in Sri Lanka, West Indies, and most recently against New Zealand at home. His captaincy style has been widely praised by cricketing pundits, and Kohli looks set to be a man for the haul for in both Tests and ODIs as a captain.
In a recent interview given to bcci.tv, the 27-yead old opened up about various aspects of captaincy including the importance of having a legend like Anil Kumble in the dressing room, who Kohli finds sharing a similar mindset with.
Talking about Kumble, Kohli said,”One doesn’t need to say much about the caliber of someone who has played for as long as Anil bhai has. Once he joined as the coach, our views matched immediately; both of us shared the same opinion about Indian cricket. Even before he was appointed the coach, we had a long conversation on a flight, and there I felt our views about how we want to take Indian cricket forward were similar.
Kohli also admitted that the presence of India’s all-time leading wicket in the dressing room has enormously helped the young bowlers in the side.
Kohli mentioned,” Anil bhai brings in a bowler’s mindset which is is critical for our young bowlers. Whenever things aren’t going well, he gives the belief to the bowlers that things will happen if they stay patient. His experience is priceless for us.”
On becoming a world-class side
In the interview, Kohli also talked about making India a world class Test outfit. India recently leapfrogged Pakistan to become the world number one Test side, and Kohli feels that a good comradery is critical for a side to consistently do well.
Talking about the importance of playing well as a team: “We want to be a world class (Test) side, and through that process, some people will have special performances and will become future greats. But to be able to become a great player, you need to play great as a team, and that’s when your performances truly count. For me, an achievement is to become a well-bonded team. By what I can see, we are well on our way to becoming one,” Kohli said.
Kohli also heaped praise on his young fast bowlers: “The fast bowlers have given us spells that have changed the game in our favour. Also, the quicks are willing to work hard for the benefit of the team which also speaks volumes about their character. They have grown leaps and bounds, and I expect them to dictate the play in the middle, even more, going forward.” the Indian captain said.
On learning from failures
Kohli mentioned the defeat at Galle in the first Test against Sri Lanka helped them become a better side.“Failures teach you a lot of important things. Either a loss brings a team close or separates them further apart; it’s your attitude that matters in those situations. If you run away from a loss, you will not get better as a side. After Galle, we sat for two hours in the dressing room, and spoke minds and hearts about what we can do to turn things around, and that helped us to bounce back.” the 27-year old said.
“We discussed focussing more on doing what is important to the team's cause, rather than personal preparation. He talked about dealing with their (Sri Lanka's) spinners, and playing out the bowlers, even if it's boring. That helped us a lot," Kohli said.
On the legacy Kohli wants to leave
The Delhi-lad has had a remarkable start to his captaincy career winning three consecutive Test series, and he believes the only focus is to do his job as a captain to the best of his ability.
Speaking about what kind of legacy he would want to leave as an India captain,”There’s nothing much left for me. I can only try to do my job in the best possible manner. If there’s the time to take the heat for my side, I’ll be the first one to do it. Becoming a captain means that, at times, you have to take tough decisions. I have the courage and mindset to do that, and I am also willing to counter any negativity that comes towards my side.”