To captain India in all three formats of the game is “surreal”, said Virat Kohli on Wednesday adding that he never thought that this day would come in his life. Kohli has been leading the Test side for some time now and was appointed as the One-Day International and Twenty20 International skipper last week after India’s most successful captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped down from the position. “It is quite surreal. I never thought this day is going to come to my life. When I came to the team, I was always looking to perform, get more opportunities and build solid consistent career and contribute to the team in winning games,” said the prolific right-handed batsman. The Delhi batsman spoke to Mandira Bedi during a talk show after inaugurating Nitesh Hub Mall here. The star player, while answering a question on how does it feel to be the skipper in all the three formats, said he never thought the path is going to lead this way. “I feel everything is God sent. Anything happens to you, happens for a reason and happens at a right time in your life,” he added. It was under Kohli’s leadership that the India U-19 team had clinched the colts World Cup in 2008. The Delhi player said he has always been the captain to the team that played in junior levels. “But being captain of India is whole different ball game all together. As they mention it, it is the hot seat in all different ways such as the attention, the praise, criticisms, all these things come along with it. “But one thing comes along with this is the responsibility and that makes me a better cricketer and a better person as I learn about life through this experiences, so I take it as an opportunity,” he explained. Asked did captaincy come as a surprise, Kohli opined that he will not call it as a surprise and said as a player, he always wanted to give his inputs on the field and was constantly thinking about the game. Kohli said it is a privilege that he was found worthy of taking the legacy forward and having the responsibility to lead the team in all three formats. He also said captaining in all three formats is not a situation of too much pressure and this is an opportunity to make the difference to the team’s fortune. Asked him about the pressure of captaining India, Kohli said, “I won’t say it is not a stressful job, however, it is fun”.
Kohli also said captaincy is all about understanding the strengths and weaknesses of people around you. “The way I came up in my career is similar. I knew my strengths and weaknesses but people did not like me as such. They were not too pleased with the way I presented myself, the way I was. “My mistakes were not acceptable. That always gave me a mindset of doing things my way and finding a way to make it work, as there is no one way to do anything. You can have different ways, you can have different style till your intent is good,” said Kohli, who has played 176 ODIs so far. When asked is it hard for him to captain a side having senior players, Kohli said it is a privilege and there is a lot of mutual respect in the change (dressing) room. Asked him about is he excited to lead in the World Cup, he said it is too far ahead.
Kohli also said he gets goose bumps thinking of captaining India in World Cup. “Because, it is an honour to be a captain in the World Cup if I still (remain) captain of the team that time,” he quipped. What was the best cricketing advice he got so far in his life, he said he got it from his hero Sachin Tendulkar. “When I approached him about my game, the advice I got from was to believe in your own game and believe in the way you want to prepare and do not follow someone and that helped and from that onwards, I was really comfortable,” the skipper recalled. Asked him about the most exhilarating moment, he said that from the team’s point of view, it was the winning moment of 2011 World Cup, watching the emotions of senior players and India getting back to the top position in Test cricket. “On personal ground, the most exhilarating moment was hitting the double century in Mumbai recently (against England) and playing against Australia in Mohali during (2016) T20 World Cup,” Kohli added. Kohli will lead the Indian side in the three match ODI series against England commencing January 15 in Pune.