The initiation or rather the official flag-off of the Virat Kohli era begins Tuesday. Unbecoming it may look with the immediate former Test captain still bowling at the nets as India are still not used to the idea of different skippers for different formats, otherwise prevalent world over.
Kohli turns a new leaf on his home page. His early promise of a leader, a 'can take on the world' attitude, the ultimate metro-sexual a la David Beckham with a celebrity girlfriend, soaking in the shrieks from the fans crying 'Virat', 'Virat' and a mere selfie with him inducing hysterical reactions have all been part of his growing up with cricket accentuated by leading India to an U-19 World Cup win. All this has build up to what he is going to be. He is where the arc light is.
His bat has done the talking on this tour and so has he. Three screaming centuries have embalmed the grimaces of an English summer. On the field, his verbal volleys have silenced the chattering Australians. Now he is also at ease with the glamour halo around him and the resultant curiosity too.
Sydney will mark the addition of a few extra fields to his home page. Virat is no longer the stand-in captain and so all his decisions will be scrutinised and compared. So what he needs to break his sleep over is finding the right combination and think beyond his own batting. He is in charge of everything that happens on-field and has to manage everything that happens off it.
"I know how much pressure and expectation there will be. And I love my hair and don't want to lose it. So I will try not to stress myself and enjoy this role. My first aim as captain is to take everyone along and if everyone is working in the same direction it will be very satisfying," Kohli said.
"The vision has to be collective. The kind of habits we are trying to bring in is fitness. Small things that the management and captain have to ensure are followed which eventually can lead up to building a stronger and unified team," said Virat.
At the nets session on Monday, Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara were kept away from practice till just before the end.Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, and KL Rahul got a long stint triggering speculations of a possible change. Australia have gone into the match with a lone spinner and India may not go for two spinners either. In that case, if Bhuvneshwar Kumar is Test fit, then Mohammad Shami will be dropped.
India's Test captain Virat Kohli speaks to teammates as former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni listens during a practice session at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) ahead of the fourth Test against Australia. (AFP Photo)