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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Cricket

Another day, a different challenge for Virat Kohli
Anand Sachar, Hindustan Times
Dhaka, February 24, 2014
First Published: 00:34 IST(24/2/2014)
Last Updated: 14:40 IST(25/2/2014)

From spearheading the improbable run chase against Sri Lanka in Hobart, repeating the act against Pakistan at Mirpur in the last Asia Cup, to being the lone India centurion on the embarrassing Test tour of Australia and the only consistent batsman on the winless trips to South Africa and New Zealand, the situation has demanded and Virat has tackled the situation head-on.

The stand-in India captain, for the Asia Cup, walked into a packed room for the pre-event press conference with the team officials in tow.

There was an air of confidence. There was no ducking of questions, nor were there answers that did not answer the query.

In charge
The 25-year-old looked you in the eye, not deflecting facts, instead, accepting each challenge.

"A century against Pakistan like last time is not as important as winning the Asia Cup. That is the aim," he thundered.

Not winning a single game for close to three months is a sour pill to swallow.

Top it with the absence of captain MS Dhoni, because of a side-strain, and a triumph in the Asia Cup doesn't seem straightforward. But, not if you are Virat.

"Last time, we could not make it to the Asia Cup semis, after losing to Bangladesh. We haven't had a great tour to New Zealand and Dhoni's captaincy and consistency with the bat has helped us do well in the One-day Internationals. So his absence will be a challenge," he shrugged.

Like in the past, Virat is in-charge of the situation, where orders are not passed but explained.

"It is exciting to be with these youngsters, who I can be on the same page with."

An opportunity
As Virat spoke, his leadership qualities became evident. He is eager to add bigger titles to his seven victories, off eight games, as captain "This is the first big tournament for me as captain. I have a decent record till now. I hope I can improve the record further," he said.

"But it is nothing compared to what MS has gone through. You get praised when you win and the opposite when you lose. It's a tough position to be in. But I don't think of myself as the future captain unless I'm appointed like I am now."

In fact, he also believed that the poor run of form could hold India in good stead.

"I think it's a great chance when people think that we aren't in the best of form. None of the guys in this team like losing. They will come out with great intent," he asserted.

At a time when Indian cricket is at one of its lowest ebbs, the scrutiny over Dhoni's role could get more intense if India's fortunes play out the way Virat hopes them to.


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