Virat Kohli, India’s Test captain, has outlined an ambitious vision for the team, saying that India has the ability to be the best in the world in conversation with The Cricket Monthly, ESPNcricinfo’s digital magazine
In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview to the Cricket Monthly, ESPNcricinfo’s digital magazine, Kohli spoke about mental preparation and fitness fanaticism; bad form; getting pinged on the helmet first ball in Adelaide; chasing targets; his team-mates Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane; the things he finds most fascinating about the life of actors – and much more. The interview will be published on June 3rd on the Cricket Monthly site.
“I strongly want to see the Indian team dominate for at least five or six years,” he said, “We certainly have the talent. We certainly have the ability. All that it will take is how you manage that and keep them together.”
Kohli, who took over the Indian Test captaincy after MS Dhoni’s retirement late, last year, laid down his vision for his side.
“I want to create strong bonds. I want to create strong friendships in this unit. We live 250-280 days a year together so I want to create such an atmosphere where in the next ten years watching it from outside you would get to know this team is a united team. This team is a strongly knit unit. They want to play for each other. They don’t want to play for themselves. That is my vision.”
Kohli stressed his belief in aggressive cricket, and committed to “going for that victory even if it means that you have to literally struggle in the end to get a draw”.
“We like playing the same brand of cricket,” Kohli said of the team he resumes taking charge of with the tour to Bangladesh later this month.
“The thing that I want to do and I can do in Test matches is free them from any kind of doubt. Free them from any kind of insecurity… On the field if you see them [Australia] play you feel like, damn, that’s a unit, we really have to play our bloody best to beat these guys. I want that to happen to Indian cricket. In Test matches we want to be the team to beat. It is just the mindset, sometimes we tend to go into that zone where the thinking is not right.”
“Not many people understand the kind of things I have seen in life at a very young age. Maybe that is why I believe in myself a lot. I think if I did not have belief, I would not be able to build my career all these years… Bad times will come but it makes you want to look forward to the good times that lie ahead, as well as appreciate the good times that you have had in your life and career. Respect the bad times when they come and not be broken by it.”
On doing well in Australia
“I remember about two months before that tour I started building the kind of mindset I wanted to have in Australia: it was all-out aggressive. I knew that I wanted to go out there and take on these bowlers because there is no way if I keep on struggling for runs I would be doing justice to what I wanted to do. Eventually I had visualised it so positively, so strongly, when I went out there my body just followed what my mind had stored two months back.”
On coming out against people who targeted his personal life
“I do not want to force anyone to respect our lives or force anyone to behave in a certain way. That is not in our control… I made that statement because it is very important for people to understand how we feel. If people choose to behave in a manner where you are burning effigies, it is very important for people to understand that we have families, our families feel bad. We have people who are emotionally attached to us. We are not all alone in the world. We are human beings with emotions, feelings. I wanted to put out there how I feel.