The last seven weeks have seen Virat Kohli grow as a leader in leaps and bounds. Be it in backing his teammates, supporting a cause or coming to the rescue of a harassed opponent… Kohli exhibited qualities of leadership not seen in him before. Yesterday he gave one more example of his maturity by wishing Rohit Sharma two more centuries. “I think playing a team sport you need to adapt and I’m very happy doing that role and I hope he gets two more, so we can win two more games [smiles]. It’s an outstanding achievement,” the India skipper said in praise of Rohit, who has hammered an unprecedented five centuries in the World Cup so far. “I have never seen anyone get five hundreds in a World Cup, be it any tournament, World Cup is all the more pressure and he has been outstanding and he deserves all the credit. According to me, he is at the moment the top ODI player in the world,” Kohli said. Interestingly, Kohli himself is universally rated as the best batsman in the world and centuries are associated with him generally. He has got 66 international centuries, including 41in ODIs. But Kohli said he is not perturbed that he has not got a century in this World Cup so far. “No, not at all,” he said. “It’s been a different kind of role that I’ve had to play in this World Cup and, as the captain of the team, I have been open to playing any kind of role that the team wants me to, so it’s great that Rohit is scoring so consistently, which means that coming in the later half of the innings you have to play a different role, which is controlling the middle overs and letting guys like Hardik (Pandya), Kedar (Jadhav), MS (Dhoni) in the past few games, and now Rishabh (Pant), come out and express themselves.” Kohli said he doesn’t focus on personal milestones. “Personal milestones honestly are something that no one ever focuses on. Rohit said the same thing the other day. He is only trying to do the best for the team and in that process special things happen, which is something that I have always believed in in my career so far and I could never imagine that I could get the number of hundreds I have and the only focus has always been the team.” All praise for Williamson During the pre-match media interaction, the India skipper also praised Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, and paid tributes to Dhoni, the senior statesman in the side. Kohli said he has high respect for Dhoni for the way he has led the country. “For us who started our careers under him, the respect will always be there because of the opportunities that he gave us and the faith that he showed in us and the way he’s handled the whole team in transition over so many years. When a person has done so much for the team you have to appreciate and acknowledge what he’s done for Indian cricket and how he’s handled Indian cricket and taken the respect for Indian cricket so high all over the world,” he said, and acknowledged how Dhoni has adjusted to the different dynamics of the side. “I know how difficult it can be to make a transition of captaining also, you know, within the same team, just playing as a player after being captain for so many years and still not being too assertive or too pushy in anything. He gives you space to make your own decisions and to actually discover yourself, so I think that’s been his biggest quality.” Kohli poured encomiums on the New Zealand captain too. “He (Williamson) was always the stand-out player and you could see when we played New Zealand in New Zealand on that Under-19 tour and in the World Cup again he was quite special for them. So, we always knew he has the special ability to go all the way and now he’s controlling the tempo of the game for New Zealand,” Kohli said. “And he’s a lovely guy. We get along very well.” Kohli and Williamson captained their countries in the 2008 Under-19 World Cup semi-final in Kuala Lumpur, where India won with Kohli taking the wicket of Williamson.
About The Author
June 29, 2019
- Bengaluru’s Nagawara residents want cops to tackle drug menace
- Pourakarmikas will be forced to eat where it stinks. So that they do a ‘better clean-up job’
- Rohit Sharma is the top ODI player in the world, says Virat Kohli
- Gold Trafford! Where it all began
- Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson to face each other again in the World Cup semi-finals after 11 years