Having freed-up Dhoni around a ‘win-win situation’, says Kohli

Speaking ahead of the upcoming ODI series verses England India’s new limited over captain Virat Kholi, who played 32 Tests. Now, he has 176 ODIs and 45 T20Is behind him had this to say about MS Dhoni.

“I feel confident taking it up because of the kind of cricket I’ve played in the shorter format and what I’ve learnt from playing in the different situations in that format. So I’ll be able to execute plans with more conviction starting off, which wasn’t the case when I became Test captain.

“I was told a day before that MS is not going to play… and I’m going to captain the country; it was quite surprising for me because, in my head, I was still finding my feet in Test cricket.”

Kohli said captaining India at the 2019 World Cup will be the “biggest achievement of my life”, but, even while preparing for that tournament, he would not want to lose sight of playing to win in every game. Winning, he said, would be the best preparation.

“Just hearing about the World Cup gives me goosebumps. I think it’s a wonderful phase in Indian cricket where the youngsters have an opportunity to come in and seal their spots for that big occasion. The main goal is to identify players who can play in different positions and can work around the batsmen who’ve been featuring in the ODI set up for a long time, at the same time giving them ample time to prepare for those big events and not rush them into any kinds of plans that they can’t execute.

“[But] there is a lot of time to go for it. Our basic goal is to win every game that we play – not taking this process for granted, saying it doesn’t matter if we win or lose games. I don’t think that will create confidence.

“When you’re put under pressure, that situation is too overwhelming for a lot of people and you don’t know a way out. But if you’re encountering those situations and know how to win from different situations, it makes a mindset for big tournaments, for big games, for big oppositions and that’s what you start craving for. So I think it’s a gradual process where the main aim will be to win games and give guys the vision and mental strength, and the ability to counter situations and come back and win games.”

Being in charge, Kohli said, has made him a better cricketer overall. “Responsibility has always been good for my game, in the sense that there’s no room for complacency. In the IPL, when I’m captain [of Royal Challengers Bangalore], it’s very easy for me throw my wicket away after 60-70, but the reason I push on is that I realise as captain I need to set an example, make that kind of effort before I can ask the same from others. That’s something I’ve always believed in.

“It makes me a better player, it makes me a better person, it makes me understand the game more and it makes me much more focused on the game – understand the minute details that win or lose you the game. It works beautifully for me.”

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