As a captain, Virat Kohli feels it is important to know how one manages and handles his players © AFP
As a captain, Virat Kohli feels it is important to know how one manages and handles his players © AFP

India Test skipper Virat Kohli has registered his first victory as the captain of the side. As a result, India levelled the Test series 1-1 against Sri Lanka, with the third Test currently undergoing at SSC, Colombo. Kohli stated that draw is the last option for him and to win matches, one has to risk losing. “Draw is the last option. You have to risk losing to win Test matches,” Kohli was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. When asked whether his teammates back his thoughts, Kohli said, “Everyone (in the Indian team) follows it (risk losing to win Test matches). Everyone wants to win. There is no difference in terms of being on the same page. So everyone believes it. You can see it in the way we are playing cricket at the moment. Everyone is eager and hungry to perform. Even in the second innings, we are taking on bowlers and setting up targets.” MS Dhoni knew Virat Kohli was ready for Test captaincy, says Ravi Shastri

“It is as similar to people saying that ‘you are never far away from a good innings.’ You have to back yourself to go out and play, you don’t stop playing your shots. If you get out to a cover drive, it doesn’t mean that you stop your cover drive for life. So, if as a batsman I say that I get out in three innings, I know that one innings is not far away. And, if I can get that one innings, I can make it six or seven consecutive scores.” Glenn McGrath praises Virat Kohli, says aggressive cricket is about body language and intent

“So, I think being positive is very important. We actually want to play in a certain manner and depending on that, you will have losses because you are going for victories. You have to risk that. But, once you get a taste of winning and once you get that habit, with this kind of a mindset it is very difficult for oppositions to stop eleven players who are going for a win in all stages,” he added. What to expect from the Virat Kohli era of Indian cricket!

Kohli said that there have been times when India have tend to play conservatively under pressure situations. Kohli wants to change such a mindset. “I’m not saying that we change the way we play, but what we mean is being aggressive in those pressure situations where sometimes you tend to be conservative and the game can be taken away from you. We are consciously making an effort to give the guys more belief to go out there and express themselves. Because, that is the only way you can counter a situation.” Virat Kohli, you beauty!

“We figured out why we are not able to capitalize on situations, from winning situations and actually winning Test matches. We thought about it, we sat down and figured out that maybe we are thinking of blocking too many balls and making Test cricket too difficult in our own heads and not actually going out there and playing the situation. Even in Test cricket people nowadays are scoring at strike-rates of 70, 75. That’s how you win matches.” Virat Kohli’s first win as Test captain vindicates ‘aggressive’ approach

“So, we figured out it is important to release that pressure and tell the guys to actually go out there. Because, if you are going to defend in a particular situation, for example if you are chasing a target and you defend all day while looking to chase it, teams usually crumble in a session or two. So, once you take a situation positively, that’s when you are right in the game and you’re actually challenging an opposition to get on with the game as well.”

The 26-year-old feels everyone in a team is a captain in their own way. “I don’t have any captaincy role models to be very honest. I don’t believe that a captain is someone very different from someone in the team. It is just that I have been given an opportunity to make decisions on the field. And that’s all I see of it. Everyone in the team is a captain in his own way because they are all thinking cricketers and they have cricketing brains. I don’t come with anything too different from what the other guys say. The only thing is that, you have to have a strong character to be a good captain, I suppose. You need to have a lot of belief as to what you want to do as a team, firstly and then in your decision making. There will be a lot of positives and negatives. You just have to put them aside and actually believe in your own instinct and your own gut to go with your decisions.”

Kohli said that as a captain he has learnt that the most crucial part is how the leader handles and manages his players. “One thing that I’ve learned so far in whatever teams that I have led is to understand your players. For a captain, (it is important to know) how you manage your players, how you handle your players. Someone might need a different way of (being handled). Someone might be in a different state of mind at a certain stage. So, how to talk to him, how to pull him up? If a guy is going through a good phase, talking less to him is better. These things I think are very, very important for a captain. As I said, decision making on the field, all eleven guys are intelligent players and you will have advice coming in from all directions, but this (man-management) I think, for me, is the most important aspect.”