I Got A MS Dhoni Signed Ball As Memorabilia: Virat Kohli

Team India captain reflects on the series win, the findings and a memorabilia to cherish.

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The common thread between geniuses is that they don’t consider their performance as an art. For them it is an outing to display character, class and consistency. The pundits can be in awe of what is at display, but for the genius it is the flow engineered by the state of mind.

Virat Kohli is one such genius in the making who shows a gung-ho attitude on the field and his youthful exuberance is something that would make you fall in love with the art of batting.

The teenager who led the India U-19 team to victory in 2008 is now the Indian Captain across all formats of the game, albeit one thing remaining constant – his hunger to win games.

2016 was one such year for Virat as he led the team in whites and made India reclaim the No.1 Test rankings. His growing maturity and show with the willow had impressed all and sundry and therefore he was recently handed over the reins of limited overs captaincy by MS Dhoni with India-England ODI series being his first assignment as India’s full-time captain.

India won the series 2-1 and the skipper spoke to BCCI TV on his ability to walk the talk, findings from the series and more..

Excerpts:

Captain, you once famously said that ‘we can’t always give excuses on transition and learning, it is time for results’. You have walked the talk and how.

Yes, it has been a series of finds, character building, people expressing themselves and not worrying about the number of games they have played. The team has showed character and intent of being smart cricketers, winning games for the country. There is no better feeling and I feel that the guys have really encashed the opportunity wonderfully and delivered every time we have been under the pump. Especially youngsters stepping up with special mentions to Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya, the way they have performed in the series has been outstanding. Everyone has contributed throughout the series and that’s the hallmark of a good team.

Cricket pundits are raving about this one SIX of yours against Chris Woakes in the 1st ODI. How did you make it happen?

I don’t know (laughs). I think it was the momentum that I was in and the motivation to win a game for my country, understanding how many runs we need from the number of balls left and reacting to the ball coming in that area. I have never played a shot like that before, but to have executed that, I surprised myself as well. It is one of those shots that will remain as a memory in your career and you can sit back and say that this is one of those special things that happened to me. I’m grateful to have executed it.


Phrases like ‘King Kohli’ and ‘Captain Fearless’ have been doing the rounds everywhere. What do you think suits the best to you?

I prefer being the Joker in the change room.

Three moments from the ODI series that will stay with you for long and why?

Kedar’s batting performance in the 1st ODI.

Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) and MS (Dhoni), the way they batted in the second game and the way Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) bowled in the death overs

The way Hardik and Kedar strung in the partnership (3rd ODI). I think it is commendable for two guys after having lost all the experienced guys in the team to stitch a partnership like this on a difficult wicket is something outstanding for me. These three events stand out for me because this is something that we always wish as a team to execute.

Most Captains have a ritual of picking up memorabilia after a series win. Have you picked up anything yet?

Well, MS gave me the match ball in the second game. The stumps are too expensive nowadays and they don’t allow us to take it home (smiles). He gave me the ball and told me that it was my first series win as captain and it is memorable. It was a special moment for me and I got the ball signed from him as well.

© BCCI

Virat Kohli & MS Dhoni Share Respect: Ravi Shastri

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Most thought India could go all the way. It was a 300-plus team with the bat. Bowlers left nothing standing on the table. Fielders looked good enough to get 10 run-outs.

Let’s pause. Isn’t this the same team which had lost in Tests and triseries? Which had been on tour for almost half the year. Which was without its Test captain in first and last gambit. Which hardly had anyone with 50 Tests. Which wasn’t long in years. Which had scars of England. Which had blank pages for history. Which…never mind.

These were not two teams. One which lost everything. From one which won everything.

Their yardstick was different. They wanted to see the Australians in the eye. Not for once take a backward step.

Improve in skills. Get better in mind. Bond stronger every next day. They ended up ticking all these boxes. And that’s why the team which took the field in Sydney had your support.

You trusted them to defend the title. They trusted themselves.

In my view, this tour to Australia was an unqualified success.

I’m not biased; I would’ve said the same behind a microphone.

If India was bad, they wouldn’t have 400-plus in each of the four Tests. They would have looked to shut the shop in Adelaide rather than go for that 360-plus target. They would have buckled after hours in sun against a relentless team. In four back-to-back Tests inside a month. There are more instances of finding an all-white penguin in Antarctica than winning visitors in Australia. There is hardly a precedent; very few are around to tell the tale. It’s cricket’s Star-Trek: To go where no-one has gone before. The holy grail.

While you remember a Kohli for his four hundreds; Rahane for his silken touch; Vijay for his patience or K. Rahul for his steel, stats would never reflect the roots these young saplings of today have taken to become the banyan trees of tomorrow. They had seen seniors leave. They were asked to walk through the fire of four foreign tours in 2014. They are still on their feet. They are good enough to be around the next decade.

You don’t pick favourites in your family. Nor would I among these fresh yet tough kids. They were all under a banner. So was I. We wanted to turn the corner after England tour. We wanted to be sure the wheels hadn’t come off. To have millions rooting for you after those long months in Sydney was a vindication.

Personally, I was in the dressing room after two decades.

Yes the game has changed. But it still is a sport which men of flesh and blood play. Players still worry on their show. They still get the jet lag; they still are exhausted; everyday nets still don’t look an invitation to party. You fret how the world has viewed you today; how media has opined; what kind of fans would turn up at the hotel lobby after a first-ball duck; what’s the official engagement in every other city. Between airport to airport, hotel to hotel, ground to ground, nets to nets is the sameness which could engulf most but the toughest.

One still needs to be smart to fill up his free time.

I see some serious ambition in these young men. Money they have had aplenty. It’s the respect which moves them. They have areas to improve. All of us do. Some would’ve issues with off-stump; some with playing across the line; some with pull or some who plays too much in the air. Bowlers always want quality, discipline, fitness, new tricks by their side. These boys believe they could improve. And they would. These are strong shoulders India could rely on.

Further, there is clarity in leadership. This is vital.

Kohli starts his reign in Tests. Dhoni the Fox heads the ODI pack. One is not that new. The other is not that old. Ideas can be bounced around. Workload shared. Checklists compared.

Both share respect. None of them would look over their shoulder. None eyes other’s fruits. No contrary commands. No overlapping. The top six is the same in both formats. This is fluidity, stability. A Swiss watch with hundreds of inter-connected cogs and flywheels, working to perfection.

Father Time is never out of step. A good few years of harmony ahead.

These are sensible heads. They don’t grumble when moved up and down the order. No theatrics. Each standing for the other. Loudest at mate’s success. I was witness to it for a good length of time. It fills me up with hope. It’s a nice stew in the pot to take care of your appetite.

(By Ravi Shastri – Indian cricket Team Director)

© PTI

Virat Kohli Has Been Fantastic As Captain: MS Dhoni

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Speaking ahead of the second Test match against Australia, at Brisbane, MS Dhoni, who is now back as the Indian captain after an extended lay-off due to a right thumb injury, has said that the break was much needed for him and has helped him work on his fitness.

Dhoni said: “This rest was very important for me. I got the thumb injury while playing in England and I played on because sometimes, these injuries settle as you keep playing.

“But that wasn’t the case this time and the right hand thumb only got worse with more batting. It was an important call for me because this is an important series and then there is the World Cup. So, I wanted 20-25 days at a stretch which I got. It was good for me because I got some time to work on my fitness as well.”

Dhoni impressed with his deputy

In his absence, Virat Kohli took over the reins and performed admirably well – whitewashing Sri Lanka 5-0 in a home series and then putting up a spirited fight on a Day 5 wicket against Australia in the Adelaide Test.

Not just as a captain, Kohli managed to turnaround his personal form as well; he 25-year-old, coming into the series after a string of failures in IPL 2014 and the England tour that followed, was the team’s leading run-scorer in the bilateral against Sri Lanka, despite not batting at his usual No. 3 position, and has kicked off the Australian series with a record-breaking twin centuries.

When asked about the way Kohli has led the team, a hugely impressed Dhoni said: “He has been fantastic, not only as a captain but also as a leader, even in the ODIs that he has led in. He is an aggressive character and is slightly different to what I am. What he did throughout the Test was great and especially his approach towards his own batting was fantastic. He had a lean series in England and it was good to see the way he prepared for this series and then the way he went out there and batted.”

On what appealed to him the most, he said: “He kept mixing it up (attack and defence). He wasn’t attacking over the top. He gave an in-and-out field to Karn at times and when he felt he could put the pressure on the batsmen, he brought in the fielders close. That is how cricket is played now – you have to see the momentum and decide when to attack or back off slightly. He did fantastically well in that regards.”

© sportskeeda