MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli (Getty Images)
CHENNAI: Virat Kohli has been yang to MS Dhoni‘s yin when it comes to captaining the Indian side. While Dhoni has always shown calm and composure under pressure, Kohli is known for his aggressive approach in order to drive his teammates on. Despite their distinctive styles, a common thread between the two is Kohli’s admiration for his predecessor.
In fact, in an Instagram live chat with India off-spinner R Ashwin on Saturday, the 31-year-old revealed about MS Dhoni’s role in getting him India’s captaincy.
“From the day I came into the Indian side, I wanted to learn and was intrigued by the game. I would always be in Dhoni’s ears on the field. I would be bouncing off a lot of my ideas with him, of which he would refuse plenty. But he would also discuss a few things with me if he liked an idea. He would always keep observing me. I kept learning from him and my inquisitiveness probably gave him the belief and confidence that perhaps I was the next guy to lead the country,” Kohli said on Ashwin’s show Reminisce With Ash.
“I don’t think the selectors appointed me as India captain suddenly. They probably had Dhoni as a sounding board before giving me the reins. I believe Dhoni played a big role in me getting the India captaincy,” Kohli added.
Ashwin, who had played a lot of cricket under both Dhoni and Kohli’s captaincy, suggested that Kohli is destiny’s child as he had captained the India colts as well to the U-19 World Cup title back in 2008.
Asked by Ashwin whether his captaincy is process driven, Kohli said he has never been one to run away from responsibility. That he is not overawed by an occasion is reflected in the way he leads the country in hunting down targets in a chase. With 26 hundreds in ODI chases, out of which 22 have resulted in India winning, he has already earned the sobriquet of the Chase Master. The India captain gave an insight into how he learnt the tricks of chasing down a big total from his early days.
“It was during the 183 which I scored against Pakistan in the 2012 Asia Cup when I discovered a lot about my game. Pakistan had a potent bowling attack. But while playing the innings, I realized that I can break the target of 330 down into two T20 games and plan my innings accordingly. It was all about wresting control and executing the plans,” Kohli said.
With both Ashwin and Kohli in a relaxed mood, the conversation veered towards spiritualism and fame when Ashwin asked him about how he handles criticism. “Tell me Virat, what is tougher to handle during the era of social media… fame or criticism?” was Ashwin’s poser.
Kohli said he has never let fame go to his head. “I would like to think of myself as a normal person. I grew up in an era where people had more freedom and you are not scrutinized for your every step. I don’t relate to the intrusion and interest in other people’s lives. So, I would definitely not think much if I had to give all my fame away,” Kohli asserted.