New Delhi [India], Jan. 8 : Swashbuckling Indian batsman Virat Kohli, who has been recently appointed as the ODI and T20 skipper, has insisted that the biggest achievement of his life would be to lead the country in a World Cup.
Kohli, who is already India’s Test captain, was on Friday appointed as the skipper in the shorter formats of the game too after India’s most successful skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to step down from the position.
Speaking to BCCI.tv, Kohli said, “Just hearing about the World Cup gives me goose bumps. I have played one and I have played couple of T20 World Cups but to play a World Cup as captain of India would be the biggest achievement of my life.”
Kohli also expressed gratitude to Dhoni for giving him the opportunity for thinking that he is worthy of taking India’s leadership forward in the shorter formats as well.
“I feel very grateful that I have been given this opportunity. I am very thankful to MS Dhoni as well for giving me this opportunity for thinking that I am worthy of taking this responsibility forward. I am very grateful to his contribution in the whole process as well. I have learnt a lot from him in terms of leadership, in terms of conducting myself how to take the team together,” he said.
“I didn’t realize myself when this transition happened, from starting off as a player just wanting to play for India and now having the responsibility to be captain in all three formats,” he said, “For every child it is a dream to just play for the country and this is the biggest day of my life.”
The swashbuckling Indian batsman also asserted that the thing he was most pleased about was the fact that Dhoni would now able to play free cricket.
“It’s a win-win situation for the new captain coming in and having that guy (Dhoni) for advice, for his inputs and for all the cricketing brain that he has. But what I am really happy about and what I am most pleased about is the fact that he will be able to play free cricket. He will be able to express himself as the aggressive MS Dhoni we knew when he came into the team,” he said.
Kohli also insisted that for him, the 35-year-old wicketkeeper batsman would always remain his captain.
“Obviously, these are massive shoes to fill. When you think of MS Dhoni, the first thing that comes to mind is Captain. For me, he is always going to be my captain because I started my career under him,” he said.
“For me he will always remain as my captain who gave me ample space and time to grow as a cricketer, who saved me from getting dropped from the team many a times,” he added.
The 28-year-old right handed batsman had an unforgettable 2016, as he smashed three double centuries and scored more than 1000 runs in Tests. As a captain, it was also during his regime that India once again attained the No.1 ranking in ICC Test Rankings.
When it comes to T20s, Kohli’s form was just impeccable. He smashed 973 runs in the Indian Premier League, including four centuries in a single edition to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore to the final before losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The newly-appointed skipper, who would play his first series as limited skipper in upcoming ODI and T20I series against England beginning from January 15, also said that he believes in leading by example.
“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.
The Indian Test skipper, who has not lost a single Test at home and won five consecutive series after being appointed as full-time Test skipper for the Sri Lanka series in August 2015, said that captaincy in Test cricket still gives the opportunity to make a comeback 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. He has got all the major trophies,” he said.
“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, make me understand the game much more.”
“I think I would be able to execute the plans with much more conviction starting off than the time I started off with Test captaincy,” he added.