Don of a new era

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Virat Kohli takes on the Indian cricket captaincy with his unique on field style, writes AJAY NAIDU

Indian cricket took on a fresh guard when young Virat Kohli walked out for the toss at the Sydney Cricket Ground. And the onus is now on 26-year-old Kohli to revive India’s fortunes in Test cricket.
A good, positive start under a new leader will send out a signal, loud and clear – that captain Kohli is well and truly in charge. To that extent, Kohli’s first press conference was both impressive and informative.
There was honesty of purpose in his thoughts and a willingness to accept and learn from his mistakes. And that, for a 26-year-old captain, is great going.
“There were quite a few things that I sat down and analysed in Adelaide that can be improved on and I’ve thought about them in the past few days,” said Kohli.
“What are the things that I can correct from Adelaide, the mistakes I made in that game? Hopefully I’ll get those right and try to make the right decisions in every situation out there in the middle.”
One thing that he really needs to learn from his former skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is to remain calm under extreme pressure. Here, it is indeed a tough ask for Kohli.
“There’s so much to learn from him, especially in tough situations. His composure, his decision making at important times. These are the things which are priceless; any captain would love to have them. I hope I can be as calm as him, but everyone has different styles,” Kohli said.

Interestingly, Kohli didn’t discount his inbuilt ability to engage himself in verbal volleys with the opposition.
“It’s important for the players to know that we need to be in a positive frame of mind, a line doesn’t need to be crossed. But we are not here to back down from any sort of confrontation or any sort of battle.”
“The intent is going to be aggressive and that’s something that I play my cricket with,” stressed Kohli. “That’s certainly something I’m going to try and use in my captaincy as well.”
Again, there will be a method to his madness.
“I am personally going to go with whatever my gut feeling is. I’m going to set fields according to what I feel. So you might see things quite different from what you usually see. I’m someone who usually goes with what I feel, so it might look funny – but as long as it’s effective.”
Kolhi continued, “I don’t mind a fight. I don’t mind a bit of chat on the field. A bit of banter. I don’t mind all that. I’m pretty focused all the time, but that’s an added spice that I like. Last time around I enjoyed it.
“It was too aggressive for me initially, but after a few incidents I figured out there’s no other way of playing in Australia, so I’ll just be myself.”

Ajay Naidu
Ajay Naidu
Ajay is a freelance cricket writer based in India who travels with the Indian cricket team

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