Virat Kohli, who will lead India in Asia Cup starting this Tuesday, defended Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s performance as captain and said that praises and criticisms are part of the game, depending on results.
Speaking to members of the press after Team India’s arrival in Dhaka on Sunday, Kohli said that leading the side for a tournament cannot be compared to leading the team on a permanent basis. “I don’t think this is anything compared to what he (Dhoni) has gone through in the past few years,” he said. “I am captain for just one tournament. It is completely different from regularly captaining the side. When you win, you’re praised, when you lose, you’re criticised. It is all a part of it.”
Dhoni – who has been rested for the tournament due to a side strain – has been heavily criticised for India’s overseas defeats and many experts have suggested that Kohli – a maverick batsman known for his aggression – should take over as Test skipper. The 25-year-old though did not appear too eager to lead the side on a permanent basis. “I am not in a position right now to experience all that (accolades and brickbats as skipper of a national team). I have got this one-odd opportunity like I did in the past as well. I am sure it is a very tough position to be in. You have to be ready to take all the criticism and praise that comes your way,” he said.
Kohli has a tough challenge of leading his men against Asian powerhouses like Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the tournament. He, however, has been at the helm of the team before – tri-series in West Indies and in ODIs in Zimbabwe last year. “I have only been captain for about eight games till now,” said the in-form batsman. “It went pretty good but this is a big tournament. It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to. We have got a young group of guys and some exciting players.”
The Indian team will kick start its tournament on Wednesday when they play hosts Bangladesh in Fatullah.