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Virat Kohli does not keep believe in keeping his cards close to his chest; makes his intentions of winning very clear
Virat Kohli doesn’t beat around the bush. He believes in talking straight. And, unlike his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Delhi lad isn’t keeping his cards close to his chest. Ever since the build up to the Sri Lanka tour, Kohli has revealed his moves one by one. From his belief of playing with five bowlers (Dhoni would always play with four bowlers) to winning matches to giving a hint of fielding three spinners (R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra) on the spin-friendly tracks of Sri Lanka. With his latest revelation of having an impact batsman like Rohit Sharma to bat at the most important slot – No. 3 – instead of showing faith in the reliable Cheteshwar Pujara, who is off colour these days.
One can easily guess what the playing eleven would be when the Indian team locks horns with Sri Lanka in the first Test in Galle starting on August 12. In Dhoni’s time, it was difficult to guess the combination till the toss. Kohli’s approach is not just positive, but also a refreshing change from how it was. Even when he was appointed the captain in absence of Dhoni in the first Test in Australia, he was still trying to get the feel of leading the Test side by following Dhoni’s set up. In the fourth and last Test in Sydney, by which time Dhoni had announced retirement from the longer format, Kohli had got an inkling that he will lead the side, thereby giving him the confidence.
The one-off Test against Bangladesh which was to be Kohli’s rough test before the final semester against Lanka was a dud as it was interrupted by rain.
Rajkumar Sharma, who has seen and trained Kohli in his childhood days, is not surprised with his prodigy’s mindset – that of not playing mindgames. “He has been transparent and clear that all will get opportunities. He helps his teammates and gives them the full liberty and freedom. He is someone who takes the team along with him,” Sharma said. Sharma added that Kohli’s aim was just to win. “Yes, he believes in playing aggressive cricket. He is positive and wants to win matches for India. His aim is to totally go and win abroad. That is his priority.
“He doesn’t play to draw or to lose. He says that he will go with five bowlers means they will have to take 20 wickets and gives added responsibility to the batsman by making him fully aware that he has to be ready,” added Sharma. Sharma has seen him lead the club side the way he has been. “From the beginning, he is like that. He is clear, doesn’t keeps things close to his heart. He is transparent and speaks whatever is there in his heart. He will do what he said and there is nothing to hide.”
Lalchand Rajput, who was the coach of the India U-19 team that toured New Zealand in 2007 where Kohli was the captain, said it’s a refreshing approach. “He is very clear in his mind. He prepares the players mentally and does not wait till the last minute to tell them. This also clearly shows his aggressive approach and how desperate he is to win. He gives a clear role to every player,” said Rajput.
By giving the players roles, he wants them to perform, said Rajput.
Can India come out on top with Kohli’s brazen attitude and positive approach? Well, it’s just the beginning.