Indian star Virat Kohli said on Sunday he was ready for the in-your-face pressure in store for his Test captaincy debut against Australia in next month`s opening Gabba Test.
Kohli will become India’s 32nd Test captain with regular skipper MS Dhoni missing the start of the four-Test series in Brisbane on December 4 against the Australians because of a wrist injury.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India said Dhoni would return to the helm for the remaining three Tests of the series.
Responding to Australian paceman Peter Siddle’s taunt that he might find the rowdy crowd and added responsibilities “a bit daunting”, Kohli went straight on the front foot.
“Well that’s for me to know and for me to experience,” Kohli said on Sunday ahead of the tourists’ opening hit-out against a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide on Monday.
“I’ve played against him, he’s quite a competitive guy so I’m not surprised there’s already some banter starting from that end … (and) I don’t mind all that.
“I love leading the side. I love being captain.
“I don’t see any issues on why I can’t be up to the challenge.”
Kohli has filled in for Dhoni in the limited-overs format, but is yet to do so in a Test.
“I’m pretty confident of the ability the guys have. It’s up to me how I handle them, how I handle different situations,” he said.
“As long as the team backs me and puts in the performances we want, I think I’m going to look good at the end of the day.”
Dhoni’s injury worries prompted India’s selectors to include two other wicket-keepers, Wriddhiman Saha and Naman Ojha, in the unusually large touring squad that comprises eight specialist batsmen and five seamers.
Kohli was empathetic when asked about counterpart Michael Clarke’s injury-disrupted lead-up to the first Test.
“I’ve heard about Michael Clarke’s hamstring injury. I’m not in a position to comment on that because I don’t know how serious it is,” he said.
“It’s very unfortunate for a cricketer before a Test series to have that sort of an injury.”
The tour, which ends with the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February and March, gives India a chance to improve their poor record overseas in recent years.