Virat Kohli has laid out his vision for the Indian team, saying he wants them to be a superpower in the sport, and that the size of India’s fanbase could make Test cricket great again.
Earlier this month, Kohli became the first Indian captain to lead a side to a Test series victory in Australia. His sides impressed in preceding tours to South Africa and England as well.
Kohli isn’t satiated though. He won’t rest till India attain absolute domination on the field. “I wouldn't say goal but I would rather speak of a vision, which is for India to be a superpower in Test cricket or a very, very strong side in Test cricket in the years to come,” he told Star Sports.
“I think if Indian cricket respects Test cricket, and Indian players respect Test cricket, then Test cricket will stay at the top because of the fan base that we have all over the world.
“If we focus too much on shorter formats – yes, they're important – but if we solely focus and look at them as an escape or an excuse to not be in the kind of situations that Test cricket presents to you, then there'll start being a mental problem with the cricketers coming up.”
Kohli believed to reach that end, it was imperative for the team culture to be maintained and passed on to next generations. “As long as you're willing to wake up every morning for five days and do the hard yards and go do the dirty work – if you're willing to bat for two hours and not score a run for the team – that is what people should prepare (for),” he said.
“That will require the team to lay out certain things that needs to be done and for the next lot to keep following. So the next lot that comes in, they have to maintain that vision and then the people coming in will follow.
“I hope that continues and I will try my level best for as long as I can to keep that culture going.”
Kohli also lauded Ravi Shastri, the India Head Coach, and credited his own evolution as captain to the feedback he received the from 56-year-old. “Because he's done so much commentary, and he's seen the game so much and has played so much himself – just watching the game – he knows where the game is heading," Kohli said.
If Indian cricket respects Test cricket, and Indian players respect Test cricket, then Test cricket will stay at the top because of the fan base that we have all over the world
"So just getting feedback from him constantly has been the biggest help for me, in terms of moulding my own personality into captaincy. He's someone who has never tried to change me just to be able to fit into the captaincy mode.
“That was the most important thing and he's been the most amazing support for the team and someone who's backed the team through and through.
Q: "Is this your best achievement?"— ICC (@ICC) January 7, 2019
Kohli: "By far. It has to be at the top of the pile!"
Absolute #scenes in Sydney, where the Indian team are celebrating winning a Test series in Australia for the first time! #AUSvINDpic.twitter.com/THu44fDRo3
"I think he's struck the perfect balance for this team. And he's the one person who was there when we were No. 7 (in the rankings) in 2014. He was there and you know the transition started under him.
“And we started feeding off that mindset and started bringing that in, which I could eventually go out there and boost more [on the field]. But I think it was his vision for us to be fearless and play a certain kind of cricket, which I think he deserves a lot of credit for.”
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