Virat Kohli’s career graph as skipper has been zooming and many experts see him as the best in the world, but the Indian skipper himself feels his chief rivals to the title of world’s best are ahead of him in Test cricket. (SCORECARD)
“I’ve always rated each one of them higher than me in Test cricket especially because of the way they have performed in the last two or three years. I understood my limitations and never tried to outdo them in the longest format of the game. In shorter formats, yes, I have been doing very well. I understood what I needed to do in the longest format for me to be able to contribute the maximum for my team.
“There is equal amount of respect between all of us, David (Warner) included… I really admire the way all these guys play.”
Virat Kohli will complete two years since he led India in a Test for the first time, at Adelaide in 2014-end. He got the job fulltime when Mahendra Singh Dhoni abruptly quit later in the series. While captains can be weighed down by the responsibility, Kohli’s batting has gone from strength to strength and things have fallen into place around him.
However, Kohli is wary of watching movement in the ICC rankings chart. He is No 2 behind Smith in Tests, and next to AB de Villiers in ODIs while he is on top in T20 internationals.
“It is more for the fans… that healthy competition is great for the game. People like talking about it. It is a great topic of debate. You feel good you are in a bunch of batsmen that is taking world cricket forward, not just having that healthy rivalry between us.
“As an individual, I don’t focus on those things. It is a massive distraction. When you are going through a good phase, you want to see the rankings, you want to see what people are talking about; am I in the race, and stuff like that. But you get so addicted to it when you are not doing well, and same thing backfires and it can really put you down.”
TOUGH EARLY PHASE
Asked about his captaincy journey, Kohli said the toughest part was to make players buy into his approach. “The initial stages are always difficult because you are trying to assemble a side which should be strong enough to beat other teams in the world. With more experience and the more games you win, you understand a lot about yourself and the team, which has happened with this team as well.
“The guys, they have become really professional…it makes the job easier with every game and every series because they understand what’s required to be match fit, to go the distance for five days, to come back from difficult situations.
A major factor has been Ravichandran Ashwin’s form. He has 27 wickets in the current series and is the world’s leading wicket-taker in 2016. The bigger tests will come when India travel to South Africa, Australia and England in 2017-18.
England skipper Alastair Cook, under pressure and speculated to be on the verge of stepping down, struck a cautionary note. “You just never know. A lot of players are spurred when they first take over and then it levels off after a couple of years. You find your genuine level.”