Pune: India’s new limited-overs cricket captain Virat Kohli is ready to take the majority of the responsibility and expects previous incumbent Mahendra Singh Dhoni to play more freely now he is not the skipper anymore.
“I have to take bulk of the responsibility now. I know that,” Kohli told reporters on the eve of India’s first One-Day International (ODI) against England here on Saturday.
“Maybe because my game is dependent on me playing in an offensive way, I hadn’t had to curb my game down too much. If I do that, it won’t do good to my game and won’t help the team in any way. But now with the burden off MS’s shoulders, we all hope he can play more freely,” he added.
India are schedule to play play three ODIs and three T20s against England.
The Delhi lad asserted that he learnt the art of maintaining the right balance in the team from Dhoni.
“Dhoni has been so successful because he has learnt when to be offensive and when the team is in trouble to strike the right balance. That’s one of his biggest strenghts and something I would like to understand,” Kohli said.
Kolhi also said that the just-married Yuvraj Singh was brought back into the national squad in order to reduce the pressure on Dhoni in the middle order and strike a balance.
“Yes, that (experience) is something we have discussed before picking Yuvi because we cannot leave so much burden on MS (Dhoni) alone in the middle order. I am willing to take up responsibility up the order, but there needs to be one more guy with him (Dhoni) down the order in case the top order doesn’t fire.
“If the top order doesn’t fire you are left with MS alone and he is guiding the youngsters more often than not. Which is fine, if you have 15-20 games till a big tournament (begins),” Kohli said.
“You need to make sure the guys who have been picked are in good form.
“So, right now we don’t have the time to nurture the one spot as much because we have a big tournament coming up straightaway, that’s why Yuvi was brought into the team. We had discussed Rayudu as well, but he has been injured for a long time and didn’t have game-time behind him. Yuvi has had a very good first-class season, so obviously he was into the team before anyone else,” the right-hander added.
“So, I think this just gives the team much more balance in the middle and lower-middle order with MS and Yuvi. They can really guide Kedar (Jadhav) and Hardik (Pandya) still with them, but to have two experienced guys compared to one is a massive difference. I am sure Hardik and Kedar can learn a lot from them, batting along with them.”
Kohli added that Ambati Rayudu had also been considered for this specific role, but the Hyderabad lad has been injured for a long time.
The India captain also revealed the team will use the three ODIs in order to prepare for the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in England later this year.
“We are taking these three games as knockout games in our own heads because we need to prepare for Champions Trophy and we need to be in the right kind of frame because the tournament is like that — it is very competitive and very quick. So we need to be at our best from game one of the series,” Kohli said.
“So, we are not taking these games as trial games. So these three games become all the more crucial. We are not going to be experimenting much with any things. We are going to find the right combinations from game one and then stick to it till the Champions Trophy.”